'It's not a nice place': Canadian describes life aboard cruise ship under coronavirus quarantine
TORONTO -- A Canadian couple stuck on a quarantined cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, has been watching ambulances come and go with increasing trepidation.
Trudy Clement and her husband have been trapped on the Diamond Princess cruise ship for nearly a week, after cases of coronavirus started popping up. She said in a radio interview with CTV’s Evan Solomon on Monday that “stress levels are starting to rise.”
So far, of the more than 3,700 people on board, 126 people have tested positive for the novel virus and been transported off the ship to hospital. Eight of those infected are Canadians.
Clement’s room is on the starboard side of the ship, facing the pier and land beyond. She said that when she and her husband go onto their balcony, they can see “all the media lined up with their cameras.”
“They dwindle, daily,” she added. “We can see the ambulances coming and going. Today was especially bad. We had a lot more passengers and crew staff come down with the virus, and they were being removed all day long.”
Clement and her husband have been on the ship since Jan. 6, meaning they have been away from home for over a month now.
“As nice as the room is, it’s not a nice place to be anymore,” she said.
Although they have only been given the ability to leave their room twice in the five days that they’ve been under quarantine, Clement says that they still have a way to speak to other humans without a phone -- by going out on their balcony.
“There’s three other Canadians that are just above us, and we trade news back and forth,” she said. “They’re of the same mindset as we are: it’s (that) this is not a good place to be.”
The increase in coronavirus cases among those on the boat are a concern for her.
“The numbers have doubled in the past two days,” she said.
When it comes time to eat, passengers on the ship choose a meal from a menu with three options. The food is then delivered to their door by crew members wearing masks and gloves. Starting Monday, they’ve been asked to wear masks any time they open the door, she said.
“So trying to remember to put your mask on when you answer the door is going to be a couple of days to get used to,” she said.
They’ve got time: the quarantine does not end until Feb. 19.
Clement said they recently were told the ship had been negotiating with Japanese officials on how best to allow the passengers to exit the cruise ship and find a way home once their quarantine ends.
It was reassuring to know that they were creating a plan for the end of the quarantine, she said, as she was not sure whether she was going to be stranded in Japan or not.
When she watches the ambulances pick up a new passenger to take them off to the hospital, Clement says she’s aware that she or her husband could be the next person in that position.
“It could be us and the sad thing is, if one of you get it, only one of you gets off the ship, the other one must stay behind.”