Japan Is Giving 2,000 iPhones to Passengers Onboard Quarantined Coronavirus Cruise

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The Japanese government is giving more than 2,000 iPhones away to passengers and crew currently stuck on a cruise ship quarantined due to the Wuhan coronavirus.

The endeavor, which is being spearheaded by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, seeks to give “one unit of phone per cabin in every passenger cabins and crew rooms,” according to Japanese Apple site Mac Otakara.

As for why this is happening, Japan wants to give every passenger and crew member access to the Ministry of Health app for medical consultation purposes so that passengers stuck aboard the ship can chat with a doctor about medication or any other concerns.

Android and iOS devices registered in other countries aren’t able to download the Ministry of Health app. While the iPhones are on the Softbank network, it isn’t clear which specific model Japan is handing out.

It’s also unclear whether the passengers and crew will get to keep the iPhones, though it seems likely that they’ll need to return them. On the other hand, given concerns about the contagiousness of the virus, the Ministry of Health may decide that it isn’t worth it to try retrieving them.

The quarantined cruise ship is a Diamond Princess vessel currently anchored off the coast of Yokohama, Japan since Feb. 3, when at least one passenger tested positive for the coronavirus.

Since then, health officials have tested 771 out of the reported 3,700 passengers and crew. As of the writing of this article, 218 passengers and crew members have tested positive for the virus.

While no deaths have been reported, there are 10 infected passengers considered to be in a “serious condition” onboard the ship.

There have been 64,474 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the globe, with 1,384 deaths reported. Japan confirmed its first fatality from the virus this morning, bringing the total number of deaths outside of China to three.

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