The coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, now officially named COVID-19, continues to dominate headlines and news around the globe, but special attention has been paid to the Diamond Princess cruise ship that remains under quarantine in Yokohama, Japan.
The Diamond Princess set sail from Yokohama on January 20th and was scheduled to return on February 4th. However, on February 1st, a guest that disembarked the vessel on January 25th in Hong Kong tested positive for the coronavirus. The Diamond Princess was then put under quarantine on February 4th after more cases were confirmed, and the quarantine was scheduled to last until February 19th, a length determined by the suspected 14-day incubation period of COVID-19.
However, several governments, including that of Canada and U.S., announced this weekend (February 15–16) that they would be evacuating their respective citizens from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The execution, however, at least on the part of the U.S., was poor. According to the New York Times, U.S. officials “started bringing the passengers home without actually knowing their test results.”
14 passengers tested positive for the coronavirus, but when the results were delivered, the passengers were already being transported to the airport for evacuation. “Because the evacuation had already begun by the time Japanese officials relayed those results”, a Times report said, “officials decided to let the infected evacuees, who were not yet exhibiting symptoms, board the planes and sit in the back, separated from other passengers by plastic sheets about 10 feet tall.”
According to a statement by Princess Cruises, the Diamond Princess set sail from Yokohama carrying 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew members, less than 100 people shy of its maximum capacity of 2,670 guests and 1,100 crew members. While over 300 Americans are on their way home, a majority of the guests remain on the Diamond Princess. The situation may seem straight out of a horror movie, but some aboard the vessel are in surprisingly good spirits, including a man whose wife was diagnosed with the coronavirus.
American on Quarantined Cruise Describes Moment Wife Diagnosed With Coronavirus
Kent and Rebecca Frasure, an American couple from the Portland, Oregon, area, were two of the 3,700 passengers aboard…
It’s one of several stories of life under quarantine that have been published since the outbreak started dominating headlines around the world. Some are from the epicenter of the outbreak, others are from a California military base, and there are even some from self-guided quarantines. It’s safe to say, however, that none of those living conditions are quite like that aboard the Diamond Princess (for better or worse), so here’s a look at what the ship is actually like.
The Diamond Princess
- Length: 952 feet
- Height: 205 feet
- Tonnage: 115,875
- Guest Cabins: 1,337
- Number of Decks: 18
- Inaugural Cruise: March 13, 2004
- Last Refurbished: February 2019
The quarantine is slated to conclude on February 19th. However, health officials have stated that an extension of the quarantine is not out of the realm of possibility. Here’s hoping everybody aboard maintains their spirits, because as much as the coronavirus is spreading, nothing spreads like fear.