Imagine going on a trip to another country to see the sights and learn about the culture, only to be arbitrarily imprisoned by that country’s government because someone on your tour was sick.
Then think what it would be like to be a fit and healthy person, but as a result of being locked up with a very small number of sick people, you and over 500 other healthy people get infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus from Wuhan.
This is what critics claim is morally questionable at the least, and potentially a contravention of the passengers’ and crew’s human rights: Japan quarantining a ship of over 3700 people, thus creating a hotbed of transmission and infection.
As a result, at least 540 of the people onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship have contracted the disease while being imprisoned in ineffective quarantine conditions. In other words, the Japanese government have been sacrificing the safety of these tourists who came to visit their country, in order to potentially save some of the Japanese public from catching the virus.
With the fatality rate of COVID-19 not much higher than 2%, and the disease already in Japan from other sources as well, was this kind of treatment morally justified? Why couldn’t they instead respect the sanctity of everyone’s lives by trying to treat them, or at the very least properly quarantining them?
As Tokyo is set to host the Olympic games this summer, the world is watching and wondering whether the risk is worth visiting a country where innocent tourists could be locked up and left for dead should the Japanese government deem it is in Japan’s interest.