When American newlyweds Milena Basso and Gaetano Cerullo set out for their honeymoon, it should have been the trip of a lifetime.
But as the Wuhan coronavirus spread around the world, sickening more than 28,000 people and killing more than 560, the couple have found themselves quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan for at least two weeks.
More than 7,300 people are being held on two cruise ships off Hong Kong and Japan amid concerns that those on board have been exposed to the virus. The Diamond Princess is anchored at Yokohama, near Tokyo, carrying 2,666 passengers, including 428 Americans, and 1,045 crew.
Three people from the US are among 20 confirmed cases of the virus on the vessel, according to statements by the cruise company.
Basso told CNN that she and her husband just don’t know how long that they’re going to be marooned on the ship, with thousands of other travelers.
People aboard both vessels are being screened, and those with suspicious symptoms are being tested for the virus that has quickly spread through mainland China and beyond.
“We just don’t feel like we’re safe,” Basso told CNN. “We should be quarantined in a sanitary environment that’s safe, not on a cruise ship that’s already infected,” she added. The couple saved for the honeymoon for two years, they told CNN.
Basso said they have been instructed not to leave their room, and that updates from officials have been “vague.”
Milena Basso and Gaetano Cerullo are stuck on the Diamond Princess quarantined cruise liner.
Basso has a clear message for American authorities. “Donald Trump save us,” she said. “Get us a government-based airplane. Get us off the ship,” she said.
The cruise operator, Princess Cruises, said the infected passengers include three Americans, two Australians, seven Japanese, one person from Taiwan, two Canadians, one New Zealander and three Hong Kong citizens. One Filipino crew member is also ill, the company’s statement said.
The rest of the passengers on board will remain under quarantine for at least 14 days, “as required by the Ministry of Health,” the statement added.
‘Likely to spread more rapidly than on land’
Concerns about a potential infection among thousands of passengers at sea exposes the vulnerability of cruise ships to viral illnesses, like the coronavirus.
“Outbreaks of respiratory transmitted infections, especially Norovirus and influenza, occur quite often on cruise ships,” Paul Hunter, professor in Medicine at the UK’s University of East Anglia, said in statement. “Cruise passengers are often older than average and spend a lot of time indoors with other people who may have come from all over the world.
“If a passenger has the 2019 nCoV [as this coronavirus is officially known] then it is likely to spread more rapidly than on land and, given the relatively high age of many passengers, the probability of more severe disease is high in those affected,” he added.
The threat also raises questions about the durability of Asia’s booming leisure cruise industry, which counts the elderly as among its most loyal customers.
Life in quarantine
Spencer Fehrenbacher, who is also on board the Diamond Princess, said an announcement told passengers that the ship was working with Japanese health authorities to “provide masks for everyone on board in order to allow a certain number of guests to have access to the open air decks outside of their cabins.”
Passengers have stayed in their rooms, Fehrenbacher told CNN, adding that food and drinks are being served by crew members.
“For breakfast today, we were given two hardboiled eggs, a bowl of fruit with yogurt and granola drizzled on top, a muffin and a croissant,” Fehrenbacher said. “They also gave us a glass of orange juice and poured each person a cup of coffee.”
“We are now trying to spend our time reading, watching television and trying to stay generally positive,” he added.
- 5 feared dead, 15 injured in accident on Accra-Tema motorway
- #FixTheCountry agitators have no leaders – Barker-Vormawor
- Wesley Girls’ SHS ‘no fasting” policy, strictly for health reasons – Old students
- Ramadan: UDS Dean of Education condemns Wesley Girls SHS management
- Why I rejected over ¢700k bribe – Anti-galamsey taskforce member
- Ghana’s 4x100m men’s relay team set to pitch camp in Europe ahead of Olympics
- Companies continue to export rosewood to China despite ban – Inusah Fuseini
- Over 200 police personnel deployed to enforce mining directives across Ghana
- Claims of fasting affecting health unfounded – Islamic Medical Association, Ghana
- Ramadan: Exercise restraint and circumspection in your comments – Peace Council to all stakeholders
Livestream: NSMQ 2021: Legon Presec, Achimota and Odorgonno battle for Greater Accra Regional supremacy
Bright Simons joins Salzburg Global’s Board of Directors
Don’t depend on your children when you retire, its a money mistake – EDC boss
#FixTheCountry: Any Ghanaian who has a problem with campaign must have citizenship revoked – Sam George
Ecobank and TANOE WomanRising organise business clinic for women-owned and women-focused businesses
Ecobank shareholders to get 55 pesewas per share as dividend
Bolt launches its car-sharing service Bolt Drive
2 teenagers jailed for life after killing Italian police officer
Nigerian model Adetutu OJ unmasks married man who offered N500k for sex
Blunt and Blay: Finding ‘silence’ for Auntie Ohene from uncle Sam’s ‘noise’
Far from silence, we suffer a culture of noise – Elizabeth Ohene
Some celebrities give hope while others give excuses for #FixTheCountry
Seatbelt has saved me 3 times – Alban Bagbin
Nigeria kidnappers free 27 college students
Zulu Kingship: Royals and rebels fight for throne