The Japanese government gave 2,000 iPhones to passengers stuck on a cruise ship where nearly 200 coronavirus cases have been confirmed

princess diamond cruise ship coronavirus
  • The Japanese government gave 2,000 iPhones to passengers stuck aboard a Diamond Princess cruise ship where nearly 200 coronavirus cases have been confirmed, according to 9to5Mac and earlier reported by Macotakara.
  • The phones were reportedly given out so passengers could download an app where they can request medication and talk with doctors.
  • Without the phones, people may not have been able to download the app if their own devices were registered to app stores via countries outside of Japan.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Japanese government has found a novel way to use technology as it works to combat the coronavirus outbreak, which has spread to its own backyard.

Off the coast of Japan, more than 3,500 passengers and crew members have been quarantined for more than a week aboard a Princess Cruises ship where at least 170 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed.Advertisement

The two-week cruise was supposed to end 10 days ago, but ever since Japanese health officials found several cases of the virus when the boat pulled into port, everyone's been on lockdown in their new floating home. Passengers have gotten restless, tweeting out mixed reviews of the "room-service" food and trying to alert local media about the lack of medicine on board.

On Friday, they received a tiny bit of good news in the form of 2,000 iPhones, or one per cabin, courtesy of the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and Japanese telecom company SoftBank, according to 9to5Mac and earlier reported by Macotakara.

The phones were distributed with a pre-downloaded app that allows people to request medication, arrange consultations with doctors, and receive information from health officials, according to 9to5Mac.
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The SoftBank-serviced iPhones were needed as people may not have been able to download the app if their own devices were registered to app stores via countries other than Japan. 

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