An American man stuck on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship docked off Japan reveals he feels ‘trapped’ aboard the boat where it ‘can be a little bit depressing’ as they await clearance from officials to take off.
Matthew Smith, 57, is one of 3,700 passengers aboard the ship, operated by Carnival’s Princess Cruises, that’s being held at the port of Yokohama, south of Tokyo.
They’re being inspected and evaluated by officials after the company announced it was quarantining the ship for two weeks after a previous guest, who didn’t exhibit any symptoms on board, tested positive for the coronavirus.
‘Imagine being trapped in your bathroom,’ Smith, from California, said to CNBC, describing passing the bleak days away confined in his room.
American man Matthew Smith, 57, is one of 3,700 passengers stuck aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise held in Japan and says it feels like being ‘trapped’ in a bathroom
Carnival’s Princess Cruises quarantined the cruise ship for two weeks after a previous guest, who didn’t exhibit any symptoms on board, tested positive for the coronavirus. Officers in protective gear pictured entering the ship on February 7
‘I recognize the situation both the ship and Japanese health officials were put in and I’m maintaining my confidence that they’re going to conclude if we’re not symptomatic and we don’t pose a risk and we’ll be able to leave after the 14 days,’ Smith said
But Smith says he’s ‘maintaining his confidence’ that he and his wife Katherine will not test positive for the novel coronavirus and that the ship will take off in nine days when the quarantine ends.
‘I personally believe it will go very well. The getting us into quarantine and basically keeping us in the cabin as much as practical under the circumstances. They’ve been letting us up in small groups to let us get air, which is obviously necessary,’ he said.
‘I recognize the situation both the ship and Japanese health officials were put in and I’m maintaining my confidence that they’re going to conclude if we’re not symptomatic and we don’t pose a risk and we’ll be able to leave after the 14 days,’ he added.
‘When you look at how many days remain, it can be a little bit depressing,’ Smith said.
Princess Cruises says the quarantine, which started on February 5, will end on February 19 ‘unless there are any unforeseen developments.’
A passenger stands on a balcony on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama on Friday February 7
Health officials pictured on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship
This map shows the coronavirus epidemic worldwide. The San Diego case marks the 13th US case of the outbreak. Worldwide there have been 1,013 deaths from coronavirus
A map based on data from flight and cell phone data tracking by Southampton University researchers shows how 60,000 out of some 60,000 people who left Wuhan after the coronavirus outbreak began but before the city was locked down have crisscrossed the globe
He commended the ship’s crew saying they’re handling the quarantine ‘very well’.
‘I give Princess and the captain of this vessel an A plus-plus on their response to this. They faced a situation that I expect they had no plans for.’
While Smith and the other passengers are confined to their suites, the ship’s crew comes by at least three times a day for meals and to deliver medication, water bottles and fresh towels.
‘We have been more comfortable than most on board. We have nothing but huge sympathy’ for the other passengers, he said.
On Monday Princess Cruises confirmed an addition 66 cases of coronavirus on the ship, bringing the total number of passengers infected to 136. Among the infected are 23 Americans and many have already left the ship for medical assistance.
The new strain of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan in central China about a month ago has since spread to effect more than 40,000 people around the globe.
Smith shared this picture of his view from the docked cruise ship on his Twitter account Monday
Smith commended the ship’s crew saying they’re handling the quarantine ‘very well’. The ship’s crew comes by at least three times a day for meals and to deliver medication, water bottles and fresh towels. Smith shared this picture of his lunch on Monday
‘I give Princess and the captain of this vessel an A plus-plus on their response to this. They faced a situation that I expect they had no plans for,’ Smith said
On Monday he shared this update showing how cruise crew brought him medication
Health officials say the illness is capable of spreading before symptoms show and about 20 percent of patients become severely ill. The symptoms include fever, coughing, shortness of breath and can progress to pneumonia and respiratory failure.
Smith has been posting updates on his Twitter on the quarantine situation.
‘Yes, 66 new cases have been id’ed on board, and I do feel bad for those people, but because life goes on . . . here was lunch: tater salad, three bean something, and pork adobo. And Coke! No complaints here,’ he posted Monday with a picture of his lunch.
Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in at least 24 countries, although only two of the confirmed deaths occurred outside China.
So far 13 have been confirmed in the US with the latest being a patient in San Diego, California diagnosed on Monday, who is said to be ‘doing well’ exhibiting minor symptoms.