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All 3,700 passengers and crew aboard the Diamond Princess have been quarantined off the coast of Japan since Feb. 3 after a man who had been on the ship tested positive for coronavirus. Passengers are confined to their rooms until the quarantine is lifted.
Since then, there have been 61 confirmed cases of the disease on the ship. At least eight Americans have been infected.
The Japanese government plans to continue the quarantine until Feb. 19 “unless there are any other unforeseen developments” according to Princess Cruises, the ship’s owner. The cruise was originally scheduled to end on Feb. 4.
In a video circulating on Twitter that was first posted by Time magazine, American couple Karey and Roger Maniscalco said that things aboard the Diamond Princess have been calm, if anxious. They said they haven’t had any contact with other guests and that staff has been delivering food wearing gloves and masks.
“We’re not so worried about the virus spreading at this point,” Roger said.
Efforts are ongoing to accommodate passengers’ health and nutritional needs, such as by procuring baby formula—there are reportedly five infants on the ship—and prescriptions. To combat boredom, the ship has increased television and video offerings and is passing out crossword puzzles, children’s activity packs, and newspapers. It has also made WiFi and telephone service free to all.
Passengers are sharing their experiences on social media. Videos and photos emerging from the ship show the monotony of being stuck inside a cabin, which is affecting passengers to varying degrees. Passengers in windowless interior rooms seem to be the worst off. The condition of staff who are working through the quarantine is unknown.
Anxious faces, thermometers, and official notifications are interspersed with photos of meals, sunsets, and people trying to make the best of the experience.
Distributed aboard #DiamondPrincess with instructions to take out own temperatures several times a day and report if it is 37.5 Celsius or greater. (For us Americans, Google tells me that's 99.5 Fahrenheit.) pic.twitter.com/zZ8RWGGkmH— Matthew Smith (@mjswhitebread) February 7, 2020
“In my spare time, I twist balloons, sing and exercise.”— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) February 7, 2020
Stranded off Japan’s Yokohama port, here’s how this couple is coping with a #CoronavirusOutbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. More @business: https://t.co/9e1vzkK4kd #coronavirus #クルーズ船 pic.twitter.com/eBhFQ7uqE4
A Japanese flag with the words “medicine lacking” is draped on the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess. Some guests are elderly and on medication. #coronavirus #DiamondPrincess pic.twitter.com/iQncSy50tX— Paula Hancocks (@PHancocksCNN) February 7, 2020
People have started pleading with the U.S. government to bring home the Americans aboard the ship to complete their quarantine stateside. Others with loved ones on the Diamond Princess are taking to social media to communicate requests for things like medicine and chairs.
@realDonaldTrump @ACSTokyo please bring home the American Citizens on the #DiamondPrincess !My father and his wife are on board under the quarantine. With the closed circulation on the ship the passengers are at higher risk to be infected. Please #BringAmericansHome ! pic.twitter.com/2i1Yp3NTl5— Patricia Pattison (@PatriciaPattis6) February 7, 2020
@ACSTokyo @CNN @FoxNews @NPR @PrincessCruises we have family on the #DiamondPrincess. 61 people are now infected- we need to get our US citizens off the #DiamondPrincess before it is too late !!! #bringamericanshome— Joy (@Angie_Segreto) February 7, 2020
Now, there was an announcement on the onboard broadcast! prescription medicine is available at medical office. fill out the order form and staff will hand out to each rooms tomorrow.— cocorobyn (@coco12013yn) February 5, 2020
order daily goods, toothbrush etc, by phone call.
thank you, #DiamondPrincess#coronavirus
My parent is on #DiamondPrincess , my mom got fever now and my dad is running out of prescription medicine. She tried to call for a Dr but guess they are too busy 😞. Don’t know what to do #Quarantine #coronavirus— Wesley Wong (@yy_wesley) February 5, 2020
In a now-deleted tweet, passenger Kim Phillips said a private Facebook group had been set up for passengers and asked those with loved ones aboard to contact her.
There have been no deaths related to the infection reported on the ship.
Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.