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Two more Canadians diagnosed with COVID-19 on cruise ship
TORONTO -- Another two Canadians are among 39 passengers who tested positive for the new coronavirus, now called COVID-19, on a quarantined cruise ship in Japan.
Global Affairs Canada confirmed Wednesday that 10 Canadians aboard the Diamond Princess ship have been diagnosed with the virus that has killed more than 1,100 people worldwide and infected 45,000 others.
“There are doctors on board the ship and medical supplies are being restocked to care for passengers during this period,” Global Affairs spokesperson Krystyna Dodds said in a statement.
“We are actively monitoring the situation and are in contact with Canadians and their families to provide consular assistance to the extent possible, while respecting the decisions of the Japanese authorities as they manage this public health emergency.”
At least 174 passengers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. An estimated 3,700 people are trapped aboard the ship, which has the largest cluster of positive cases outside China.
In total, 255 Canadians are still on the ship, which will remain quarantined in the waters off Yokohama until Feb. 19.
Passengers infected with COVID-19 have been removed from the ship and treated at a nearby hospital.
Among those quarantined on the ship are Greg and Rosemarie Yerex, a couple from Port Dover, Ont. who admit they’re beginning to get a little stir-crazy but are still in good spirits.
“We’re actually doing pretty good. Sun is shining, we’ve got a great view of Mt. Fuji,” Rosemarie told CTV News Channel on Tuesday. “I’m not terribly concerned.”
The ship has offered supervised walks on the deck for passengers, but Greg and Rosemarie have opted to remain in their cabin “and just enjoy the fresh air on our balcony instead,” Rosemarie said.
On Monday, another Canadian couple aboard the ship told CTV’s Evan Solomon that “stress levels are starting to rise.”
“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,” Trudy Clement said on Monday.
“There’s three other Canadians that are just above us, and we trade news back and forth … They’re of the same mindset as we are: it’s (that) this is not a good place to be.”
Passengers are being confined to their rooms with their meals delivered by staff members wearing masks and gloves. The quarantine began on Feb. 4 and will last two weeks – a time period recommended by the WHO.
But bioethicist and University of Toronto professor Kerry Bowman said there are ethical concerns about the Japanese government’s decision to keep passengers on a ship where nearly 200 people have become sick.
“Even if the argument could be made they’re not infecting each other, which is becoming a little hard to believe, the psychological and emotional stress, it’s very hard to justify that,” Bowman said.
With files from CTV’s Alexandra Jones and Jackie Dunham