A Princess cruise ship saw a confirmed case of coronavirus onboard at the beginning of this month. The ship was quarantined off the coast of Japan while authorities figured out what to do with the so-called “coronavirus cruise ship.”
Apparently, giving the passengers iPhones is one of the things authorities came up with. Around 2,000 iPhones were handed out to the ship’s passengers.
Why iPhones? The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare has an application that allows patients to communicate with doctors. Authorities concluded that giving each passenger an iPhone with this app pre-loaded would be the best way for them to get medical advice.
According to iMore, the original idea was actually to hand out Android phones, as they would likely be much cheaper. However, there were concerns that the app in question wouldn’t work properly on Android devices, so iPhones were used instead.
This photograph, allegedly taken on the coronavirus cruise ship, suggests that passengers were handed iPhone 6S devices:
According to NBC News, passengers are just now finally getting to leave the ship. Passengers over the age of 80 as well as those with medical conditions and/or a windowless cabin on the ship are now disembarking the craft. They are being moved to a land-based quarantine facility where they will stay until at least February 19, 2020.
It is not yet clear if the coronavirus cruise ship passengers will eventually need to hand back their iPhones to authorities or if they will be theirs to keep.
Earlier this week, coronavirus fears caused the cancelation of the world’s largest mobile tech conference, Mobile World Congress. Many new smartphones were expected to launch at that event.