The coronavirus is still spreading, and now some cruise ships have been quarantined due to infected passengers.
Sixty-one passengers—including 11 Americans—on board Carnival's Diamond Princess have been isolated. Over 3,500 people have been restricted to their rooms for 14 days to stop the spread of the fatal disease, according to the Weather Channel. The Diamond Princess has been docked off the coast of Japan during the quarantine.
“We’ve got two weeks’ extra cruise, albeit a confined cruise,” passenger David Abel, 74, told the Washington Post. “You’ve got to make the best of the situation, haven’t you? But I’m sure that in 10 or 12 days’ time, I’ll be pulling my hair out.”
“It’s not going to be a luxury cruise; it’s going to be like a floating prison,” Abel said on Facebook, according to the Associated Press. Passengers are being delivered meals to their cabins; alcoholic drinks and smoking have been prohibited.
A traveler on the cruise tested positive for coronavirus after departing the ship in Hong Kong on Jan. 25. That led Japanese authorities—where the ship later docked—to delay the Diamond Princess. A team of quarantine officials and medical staff boarded the ship and began conducting exams. On Wednesday, Japan’s health ministry verified that 10 passengers were infected, and by Friday, that number had grown to 61.
In the U.S., a group of Chinese nationals had allegedly had symptoms of sickness while aboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of Seas, and were subsequently quarantined and tested for the virus after the ship arrived in New Jersey on Friday morning. Officials told Philadelphia’s ABC6 that there wasn’t any indication that the passengers were infected.
“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.”
Another cruise ship, the World Dream, has been sequestered in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor as more than 3,600 passengers and crew get screened. Eight passengers on the ship had been infected; Hong Kong authorities said over 5,000 people on three voyages starting Jan. 19 are vulnerable to the virus.
Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, and Norwegian Cruise Line are now denying entry to passengers who have recently visited mainland China.