Tokyo, Feb. 12 (Jiji Press)–Health minister Katsunobu Kato said Wednesday that Japan will consider deploying hospital ships to treat those infected with the new coronavirus onboard a quarantined cruise ship off Japan.
“There is a need to consider (using hospital ships) at an accelerated pace,” Kato said during intensive deliberations at a meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of parliament.
The minister said there are “considerable infection risks” in transporting infected people from the Diamond Princess cruise ship to a hospital on land. He added that the use of hospital ships, which can conduct medical checks and treatment, is “sufficiently possible.”
The comments came in response to questions from lawmaker Ryosei Akazawa of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also attended the budget committee meeting, expressed concern over the spread of false information about the coronavirus outbreak on the internet.
“We will further the understanding of citizens by sending out correct information,” Abe said in response to questions from Shigeki Sato of the Komeito, the junior partner in the ruling coalition.