Preparation for Quarantine on the Cruise Ship Diamond Princess in Japan due to COVID-19.JMIR Public Health Surveill. 2020 05 11; 6(2):e18821.JP
Japan implemented a large-scale quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in an attempt to control the spread of the novel coronavirus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in February 2020.
We aim to describe the medical activities initiated and difficulties in implementing quarantine on a cruise ship.
Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for SARS-CoV-2 were performed for all 3711 people (2666 passengers and 1045 crew) on board.
Of those tested, 696 (18.8%) tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), of which 410 (58.9%) were asymptomatic. We also confirmed that 54% of the asymptomatic patients with a positive RT-PCR result had lung opacities on chest computed tomography. There were many difficulties in implementing quarantine, such as creating a dividing traffic line between infectious and noninfectious passengers, finding hospitals and transportation providers willing to accept these patients, transporting individuals, language barriers, and supporting daily life. As of March 8, 2020, 31 patients (4.5% of patients with positive RT-PCR results) were hospitalized and required ventilator support or intensive care, and 7 patients (1.0% of patients with positive RT-PCR results) had died.
There were several difficulties in implementing large-scale quarantine and obtaining medical support on the cruise ship. In the future, we need to prepare for patients' transfer and the admitting hospitals when disembarking the passengers. We recommend treating the crew the same way as the passengers to control the infection. We must also draw a plan for the future, to protect travelers and passengers from emerging infectious diseases on cruise ships.