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Kitchen closed, no medication: TN natives onboard cruise ship quarantined off Egypt
One of the 18 passengers from Tamil Nadu, quarantined on a luxury cruise ship A Sara on the Nile, Egypt, lamented that most of the Indian passengers weren’t provided with proper food as the kitchen in the ship has been closed.
“For breakfast, it was just bread and cheese. Most of us Indians in the ship are elderly people and we are finding it extremely difficult. We have requested the authorities to allow those who tested negative to go, but our request was turned down. But a few US nationals, who even tested positive, were evacuated from the ship by their government. We are scared that being in the ship longer may affect all,” said Vanitha Rengaraj, founder of Sharanalayam, an orphanage in Coimbatore.
Battling a couple of age-related ailments, she was accompanied by her husband R Rengaraj, 65 in the trip. “We took the trip only after our tours operator Grand Royal Tours in Salem assured that it is safe to visit Egypt, where there is no corona outbreak. Even during our sightseeing visits, we did not face any threat of infection and none wore masks. Issues began only in the cruise ship, which was part of our tour itinerary,” she added.
The 18 Indians had left the country on February 27 and were scheduled to return on Sunday early morning. “I was supposed to participate at a Women’s Day function to receive ‘Wonder Woman’ award at a mall in Coimbatore today evening. I had to give it a miss now,” said Vanitha.
Her husband, a Chennai native, who exhibited corona symptoms, had been shifted to a hospital in the city of Alexandria, leaving her alone in the ship. The passengers also complained that except for the masks, they were not provided with any medicines on board the ship. Vanitha Rengaraj’s daughter Saranya Rengaraj said the matter has been brought to the notice of the Indian Embassy.
“Only after we informed, the Indian Embassy learnt of the stranded Indians in the ship. Officials had visited the ship, but haven’t communicated to us on the steps being taken to bring them back. I had also tweeted the matter to the External Affairs Minister. But I am yet to get a reply on their safe return,” she said.