Japan’s military on Wednesday, February 5, prepared a chartered ferry to use as a quarantine vessel that could house hundreds of suspected coronavirus cases due to the rising number of infected people in the country.
The 17,000 GT Hakuo was docked at Yokosuka naval base close to Tokyo, which is also the homeport of the US Navy’s Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier. When put into service, the ferry will initially take up to 94 people. If needed, it can accommodate more. According to a Japan Self Defense Force official, around 300 people could live on the ship and it had a maximum capacity for 500, though that would mean "queues for the baths and other facilities."
Preparations aboard Hakuo came as health authorities placed over 3500 people on 2 weeks quarantine on a Princess' cruise liner anchored off Japan.
People quarantined aboard the ferry will be confined to quarters for around ten days and provided with a tablet computer and Wifi in order to help them pass the time. Each will also be provided with toiletries as well as other necessities during their stay. Meals will be brought to their rooms.
The government of Japan has come in for criticism it has been too slow to respond to the health crisis. The country has not yet forcibly quarantined people who might carry the coronavirus, including Japanese returning on evacuation flights from Wuhan where the epidemic began.