A Surrey family is among those quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship that has been docked in Japan since Tuesday after 10 passengers were confirmed to have the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.
On Wednesday night – Thursday morning in Japan – 10 more cases were confirmed aboard the vessel, including two cases affecting Canadian passengers.
Kim Phillips told CTV News Vancouver the ship's captain made an announcement confirming the 10 new cases as passengers waited, quarantined in their rooms.
Phillips is aboard the Diamond Princess with her husband and parents, along with thousands of other passengers waiting to get off the ship in the port of Yokohama, just south of Tokyo.
They boarded the ship Jan. 20 in Yokohama, and this was supposed to be their last stop, but on Monday Phillips noticed something had changed.
“I noticed some of the entertainment staff wearing masks,” she told CTV News in a FaceTime interview from her room. “I said to my husband, 'Something is up.'”
Passengers were meant to disembark the next morning and had all their bags packed, but when they returned to their rooms, their bags were back inside.
“We knew then that there was a lot more going on than we were aware of,” she said.
Tuesday morning, passengers were informed there were 10 confirmed cases of coronavirus on the ship, and everyone had to quarantine in their rooms.
Since then, Phillips said, she's spent two sleepless nights stuck in her cabin.
Japan's health minister said those who tested positive were removed from the ship and are now in hospital. But the crew on the ship and rest of the passengers have to remain for the 14-day quarantine.
Phillips is travelling with her parents, who are turning 80, so she said it has tough being in separate rooms and unable to see each other.
“We’ve talked on the phone and they’ve just learned how to FaceTime so they can FaceTime," she said.
In a statement, Princess Cruises said it had "been notified that amongst the second set of samples that have completed testing, 10 additional people have tested positive for coronavirus. This includes four Japanese guests, one guest from Taiwan, two Americans, two Canadians and one guest from New Zealand.”
Phillips and her family left Vancouver on Jan. 17. She said they were aware of the coronavirus at the time but it “just wasn’t that big in the news" before their departure.
It wasn’t until the ship's second stop – in Hong Kong – that staff began taking temperatures of passengers disembarking.
By their third stop, in Okinawa, checks had gotten more serious, she said.
“We were filling out additional paperwork and having our temperature checked,” she said. “We were walking through the infrared x-rays.”
Since the quarantine began, ship crew members have been delivering food to passengers stuck in their rooms.
Phillps told CTV News they are wearing masks and gloves.
She said the first day they were quarantined there wasn’t enough food, but since the ship docked, officials have been able to restock.
Now, she and her family wait, in separate rooms, to find out how whether these 10 new cases will keep them quarantined even longer.