41 more cruise ship passengers test positive for coronavirus; 5 are Canadians
VANCOUVER -- Spencer Fehrenbacher, 29, sits in his small cruise ship room, quarantined and waiting to find out if he will be the next Canadian to test positive for coronavirus.
“Not knowing where I stand with my test results is beyond frightening news,” he told CTV News Vancouver in a video from his balcony.
Fehrenbacher is one of the 251 Canadian passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship currently quarantined in Yokohama, Japan. So far, two of the 61 cases on the boat have been confirmed. A total of 7 of the cases are Canadians. All infected passengers are being transported to nearby hospitals.
Japan's ministry of health says the latest cases come from the final batch of tests. The ship's quarantine will end on Feb. 19, unless there are any unforeseen developments, the ministry said.
Fehrenbacher, a Fort Langley resident, has been studying for his master’s degree in Northern China, and a few weeks ago had decided to book the cruise out of Japan for a holiday.
“We’re now trying to spend our time reading, watching television, and just trying to stay generally positive,” he said.
But that’s getting increasingly tough, as the number of cases continues to climb.
Fehrenbacher told CTV News Vancouver the vessel's staff has dispensed gloves and thermometers to each passenger.
“We need to be taking our temperature throughout the day,” he said. “If anyone’s temperature goes above 37.5 degrees we’ve been given a list of numbers that we need to call to report our temperature.”
In coordination with the Japanese health ministry, the captain is allowing groups of passengers time outside of their cabins to get some fresh air.
They are “specifically starting with passengers with interior cabins; that’s cabins that do not have windows,” explained Fehrenbacher. Those groups are being given about an hour and half outside at a time, but it comes with strict rules.
“They have to wear masks at all times, they have to stay one metre from each other,” he said. “They can’t actually congregate in groups, and they can only go to certain areas of the ship.”
Kim Phillips, who is from Surrey and is also quarantined on the ship said “the Japanese quarantine officials are monitoring it all.” She and her husband are travelling with her elderly parents. They have decided not to go out, saying it makes them "too nervous.”
“I’m just holding out hope that my test comes back negative,” said Fehrenbacher. He expects to hear the results tomorrow.