A dozen people have the new coronavirus inside the US, according to the CDC. But twice that many Americans have fallen ill abroad from one cruise ship alone. These were the people who had the misfortune to board the Diamond Princess, which is now docked in Japan and under quarantine. A total of 135 passengers have tested positive, and 24 of them are Americans, reports CNN. Coverage:
- On board: "Imagine being trapped in your bathroom,” American Matthew Smith, 57, tells CNBC. The approximately 3,500 passengers must remain in their cabins, though they can leave for the deck if they wish for brief, designated periods during the day. The crew delivers meals, bottled water, towels, etc., to their rooms. Smith and his wife (neither of whom are ill) are actually confined to a larger suite, and thus "have been more comfortable than most on board."
- Split up: One of the ill Americans is Rebecca Frasure of Oregon, who was transferred to an isolation ward at a Tokyo hospital Friday. Her husband, who is not ill, remains on the locked-down ship. "We're just kind of taking it in stride and FaceTiming and such as we can," Frasure tells ABC News, adding that she would not have known she was sick if she hadn't been tested. "Just never think that something like this is going to happen when you're just on vacation, living life. So, yeah, it was pretty shocking."
- WiFi helps: Another passenger, Young Wo of Hong Kong, tells the South China Morning Post that movies and free internet are helping him and his wife pass the time. “It’s not too boring, as we can also watch TV and play crossword puzzles delivered to our room." He said they have opted to stay inside even when announcements are made that they can go to the deck. "We just open the balcony doors during the day to get the room ventilated with fresh air."
- How long? The two-week quarantine is due to be lifted Feb. 19, reports NPR, but anyone who has been in contact with an infected person might have to stay longer. The bad news is that new cases keep emerging—66 on Monday alone. The ship, run by Princess Cruises, represents the largest cluster of cases outside China.
- Medicine: About 600 quarantined passengers need different types of medicine, and authorities were scrambling to supply it, reports the AP.
- One good thing: All the passengers are getting full refunds, and—should they ever want to get on a boat again—a travel credit for another cruise, per NPR.
(On the other side of the world, an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness got another Princess cruise shut down early