See More on Facebook


Seoul sends presidential jet to evacuate South Koreans from cruise ship in Japan

A South Korean government jet left Tuesday to evacuate South Koreans aboard the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship in Japan, amid concerns of rapidly rising cases of Covid-19 onboard.

Written by

Updated: February 18, 2020

The VCN-235 Air Force plane left Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, at noon, and landed in Japan’s Haneda Airport, 20 minutes away from the Yokohama port where the cruise ship Diamond Princess is docked.
The plane is scheduled to leave Japan on Wednesday and arrive at Gimpo Airport at around 8 a.m.
The plane is set to evacuate five people — four South Korean nationals and a Japanese spouse — from the cruise ship. But the final number could change depending on the situation, according to government officials.
There are 14 Koreans onboard — nine passengers and five crew members, all of whom are reportedly unaffected by the virus. They have been stranded on the ship with around 3,700 people since Feb. 3, after a former passenger was diagnosed with the virus. As of Tuesday, 454 people were infected with COVID-19, in the largest cluster of virus cases outside of China.
The remaining Koreans have said they want to stay on the ship, largely due to their residence status tied to Japan. The mandatory quarantine on the cruise is set to end Wednesday, which means the remaining Koreans may leave the ship if they test negative.
Upon returning from Japan, the evacuees will be transported to quarantine facilities of Incheon Airport for 14 days, similar to hundreds of Korean nationals airlifted from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The decision to repatriate Korean nationals who wish to return was made, on the outbreak of many COVID-19 cases on the Diamond Princess cruise,” said Vice Health Minister Kim Kang-lip during a regular briefing. “The location of the temporary lodging facility was selected considering the small number of evacuees.”
The government had decided to deploy the 19-seat government plane, considering the small number of evacuees and the cost, it added.
The evacuees will be expected to pay a plane fee of around 300,000 won ($252) per adult, similar to the rate billed for Koreans airlifted from Wuhan.
Traveling together on the plane will be doctors, nurses, and Foreign Ministry and quarantine officials. Upon arrival, they will be transported to Yokohama port and will quarantine the evacuees on the cruise ship first.
Evacuees who test positive for COVID-19 or exhibit symptoms will be prohibited from boarding the flight. Those infected with the virus will stay in Japan for treatment.
Seoul’s sudden decision to evacuate its citizens comes as many countries have decided to airlift their citizens stranded on the cruise ship. Last week, the government was not considering the evacuation, as most of the Korean nationals on the cruise consider Japan their main country of residence and had not expressed intention to return.
The US was the first to send planes, transporting 328 citizens from the cruise back to the US. Among them, 14 passengers tested positive for COVID-19.
Australia, Canada, Israel, Italy and Hong Kong were also planning to repatriate citizens from the cruise.
As of Tuesday, more than 73,000 have been infected with COVID-19 around the world, with the death toll exceeding 1,800, mostly in China.
Seoul confirmed another case of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections here to 31.

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

Asia News Network
About the Author: Asia News Network is a regional media alliance comprising 24 media entities.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here


Taiwan: 720,000 people registered for purchasing face masks online

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that more than 722,000 people — 600,000 using the NHI app and 122,000 more using the Emask system — had successfully registered for purchasing face masks as of 1 p.m. Asked about people who have reportedly tried to register again, CECC Chief Commander Chen Shih-chung called on the public to stop, stressing that authorities are committed to providing a set of face masks to each user prior to March 18, the official deadline for registration. Regarding some reported phone scams on payment requirements for face masks, Chen asked users to remain vigilant. Access is limited to Taiwan residents who need to register their NHI number, obtain proper digital certification and downloa

By Asia News Network
March 13, 2020


Covid-19 outbreak will continue for a year or longer; more stringent measures may need to be put in place, says PM Lee

 In a video address on his social media channels, PM Lee emphasised that the situation in Singapore remains under control. The Covid-19 outbreak will continue for some time – a year, and maybe longer – said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his second national address on the situation on Thursday (March 12). But if Singaporeans keep up their guard and take practical precautions, the country will be able to keep its economy going and people will be able to carry on with their daily lives, he said. In a video address on his social media channels, PM Lee emphasised that the situation in Singapore remains under control. The disease outbreak response level will not be stepped up to red, the highest level, he said. It is c

By The Straits Times
March 13, 2020


Foreigners play their part in Shanghai’s epidemic prevention

 Expat volunteers have been active in helping the city overcome the COVID-19 outbreak. Twelve foreign residents in Shanghai have joined a volunteer team to help with the city’s COVID-19 prevention and control. Located in Minhang district, the team was established on Feb 10 by the Jinfeng International Community Development Association, which aims to promote the development of Huacao town and the Jinfeng International Community by organising themed activities and public welfare events. Pakistani Amir Shafiq Khan joined the team to give back. “It’s easy to run away to another country, but I felt that my family and I should contribute to China in this difficult time as it has always offered opportunities to us,” says Khan, who has lived in

By China Daily
March 13, 2020


Asian stock markets take cue from US to hit fresh lows

ST Index careens into bear territory for the first time since January 2016 Many stock markets across Asia, including in Singapore, followed the United States into bear territory after US President Donald Trump stopped short of offering a detailed rescue package as the coronavirus outbreak was declared a global pandemic. Adding to fears, oil prices slumped further. The Straits Times Index (STI) careened into bear territory for the first time since January 2016. The last time that the STI was in a bear market – where stocks have fallen at least 20 per cent from their recent high – was during the oil price rout in 2016. The STI finished down 3.77 per cent yesterday, and more than 21 per cent down from a peak of 3,407.02 on April 29 last year.

By The Straits Times
March 13, 2020


askST: Can coronavirus be spread by sweat, or via activities such as singing?

There is currently no evidence showing that the virus can be transmitted through one’s perspiration. Concerns have been raised over social activities such as singing and exercising in the light of the coronavirus outbreak. As of Wednesday (March 11), Singapore’s largest Safra Jurong cluster of confirmed coronavirus cases went up to 40, against a total of 178 cases. The patients, who had attended a Feb 15 Chinese New Year celebration held in the ballroom of Joy Garden restaurant at Safra Jurong, are members of a Hokkien singing group. This has raised concerns as to whether the disease, known as Covid-19, can be transmitted through singing. Similar concerns have been expressed about whether the virus can be spread through sweat b

By The Straits Times
March 12, 2020


Bangladesh to benefit from coronavirus fallout: survey

Study says globally renowned companies are planning to shift work orders from China to other Asian countries, including Bangladesh. Bangladesh will benefit from the fallout of the coronavirus as most of the globally renowned companies are planning to shift work orders from China to other Asian countries, including Bangladesh, according to a new survey. Hong Kong-based QIMA, a leading provider of supply chain compliance solutions and which partners with brands, retailers and importers to secure, manage and optimise their global supply network, surveyed the executives of more than 200 globally renowned companies between February and early March. Half of the survey respondents are considering shifting supplier sourcing away from China to new countries or r

By Daily Star
March 12, 2020