Hundreds Of American Cruise Ship Passengers Stuck In Quarantine On Ships
Bayonne, NJ – Four cruise ships have been quarantined with passengers who tested positive for coronavirus, and the most recent was the Anthem of the Seas when it docked in New Jersey on Friday morning.
The Diamond Princess has been quarantined off the coast of Yokohama since it arrived on Tuesday, and there it will sit – with 3,700 passengers and crew aboard – until the quarantine is lifted on Feb. 19, CNN reported.
There are 428 Americans quarantined on the boat, CNN reported.
Sixty-one passengers on the Diamond Princess have tested positive so far, and some of them are U.S. citizens.
Rebecca Frasure, one of the infected Americans, said her only symptom was a cough when her coronavirus test came back positive, CNN reported.
The 35-year-old woman was told she would have to leave the ship immediately to be taken to a hospital, but her husband, 42-year-old Kent Frasure would stay behind because his test had been negative.
"It is terrible, I could never imagine that this could be happening right now," Rebecca Frasure told CNN. "[The hardest part] is the unknown. Like, I don't know what's going to happen an hour from now."
Kent Frasure said no one from the boat had come to sanitize their room so he figure it would only be a matter of time before he was sick, too.
He said nobody from Princess Cruise Lines had given them any information about what was happening, and that most passengers learned about it from talking to somebody who knew a passenger who was sick with coronavirus, CNN reported.
Elderly American author Gay Courter and her husband Philip haven’t gotten sick but remain quarantined on the boat with an unknown number of people who have been exposed.
Courter, author of the New York Times bestseller “Midwife,” called the Diamond Princess a “contaminated prison,” CNN reported.
"[My husband Philip and I] are 75 and 77 years old, we have health risks and we are a bad category to get sick... We are not safe in our rooms," she said.
Of the 630 people who have died in Wuhan, China’s National Health Commission said 80 percent of the victims were over the age of 60, CNN reported.
The author said that she and her husband had emergency travel insurance and that Medjet was willing to send an extraction team to take them off the boat, but both U.S. and Japanese officials forbid it.
"We can be taken in quarantine, and extracted in quarantine and arrive in the United States safely," Courter said. "We are not sick at the moment but there is a major concern that circulating air on this ship can make people sick."
She called on the U.S. government to intervene and extract the Americans from the Diamond Princess and take them to Okinawa for evacuation, CNN reported.
Courter said there could quickly be another 1,000 Americans with the virus if the U.S. government doesn’t act.
"I [just] do not want to go home in a box," she told CNN.
Passengers on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas told WABC that they had no idea that anyone on their cruise to the Bahamas had come down with the coronavirus, or was even suspected of having it.
But when the cruise ship carrying more than two dozen Chinese nationals amongst its over 4,000 passengers docked in Bayonne at 6 a.m. on Feb. 7, ambulances were waiting, WPIX reported.
Center for Disease Control (CDC) officials were on hand to greet the boat and more than a dozen passengers who had been quarantined aboard the ship after exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus were tested.
Four were transferred off the boat for additional screening, some on stretchers, WPIX reported.
Passengers were allowed to disembark from the ship later in the morning and said they had not been warned about the possible outbreak of the terrifying virus that has infected as many as 31,400 people globally.
Royal Caribbean announced the ship would not be leaving as scheduled later in the day but would spend an extra day cleaning under the CDC’s guidance before boarding new passengers on Saturday, WPIX reported.
"Like airlines, we are participating in elevated levels of guest screening to check the spread of coronavirus,” the cruise line said in a statement. “We are closely monitoring developments regarding coronavirus and have rigorous medical protocols in place onboard our ships. We continue to work in close consultation with the CDC, the WHO, and local health authorities to align with their guidance and ensure the health and wellbeing of our guests and crew."
Royal Caribbean announced Thursday that passengers and crew coming from China, Hong Kong, Macau, as well as anyone who has travelled through those places in the last 15 days, would not be allowed to board their cruise ships for the time being, WPIX reported.
A World Dream cruise ship has been held in quarantine at the dock in Hong Kong after eight former passengers tested positive for the coronavirus when it docked on Wednesday.
And a Holland America ship that left Singapore on a 30-day cruise of Asia on Jan. 16 has been floating around homeless for days, effectively quarantined to the ocean, despite the fact none of the passengers have exhibited symptoms or tested positive for coronavirus, CNN reported.
The Holland American Westerdam has been turned away from ports in the Philippines, Taiwan, and Taipei.
On Thursday, Japan said it wouldn’t allow the Westerdam to stop at any of the five points on its itinerary in that country, CNN reported.
The ship is now chugging across the South China Sea while officials figure out what to do with it.
"No one wants us," 63-year-old Australian passenger David Holst told CNN. "Holland America said they're in discussions with the US State Department, the US Navy, and the Dutch government to try and find a solution. I have no idea what that will be or when that would be."