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Quarantined 'coronavirus cruise ship' passengers are tweeting pictures of their life on-board

To date, 175 of over 3,700 people aboard the ship have tested positive for the virus and sent to local hospitals while the others are quarantined onboard.

Quarantined 'coronavirus cruise ship' passengers are tweeting pictures of their life on-board
Cover Image Source: Facebook/Princess Cruises, Twitter/Aun Na Tan

Note: This is a developing story. This version of the story is based on updates as of 7.36 pm Pacific Time, Feb 12th.

Passengers and crew members on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship currently quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, are painfully aware of every passing minute. A dream 14-day vacation to Southeast Asia quickly took a turn for the worst when an 80-year-old passenger who disembarked last month tested positive for coronavirus—the epidemic that has had the entire world on high alert for weeks. To date, 175 of over 3,700 people aboard the ship have tested positive for the virus and sent to local hospitals, reports CNN. The remaining passengers and crew have been forced to stay on the vessel since February 4 and will have to do so until the quarantine ends on February 19.



Faced with two weeks of monotony, several of those onboard have turned to the internet to keep their spirits up, forming online communities to share information and support each other through the isolation. On its part, Princess Cruises—the company that owns the Diamond Princess—is doing its best to keep as comfortable and engaged as possible, upgrading the internet to wider bandwidth and increasing entertainment offerings on the ship's TVs. Tweets from many of those quarantined on the ship praise the cruise line and crew members for working around the clock to make sure passengers are given the best service even in the current unfortunate circumstances.




According to NPR, having most of its guests trapped in their rooms except for brief turns on the deck, Princess Cruises has also set up an official hashtag #HangInThereDiamondPrincess — encouraging passengers to share their experiences onboard. Kudos to the magnificent pastry chefs on board the Diamond Princess. Delicious desserts twice a day chases the quarantine blues away, American author Gay Courter wrote in a recent tweet.














One of the most popular in-house TV offerings has been magician Sunny Chen's Magic of the Day show. The native of Taiwan who is among those quarantined has been praised by many of his fellow passengers for helping keep their spirits up even in current circumstances. "Thanks, @sunnychenmagic for putting effort to show us amazing magic, my son loves him," passenger Yardley Wong tweeted, later adding, "Sunny is soo good. My son copied his card magic all night long."




Acknowledging the positive feedback to his show in a recent Facebook post, Chen said, "Received a lot of encouragement and support!! My original intention was to bring joy to all viewers. Now as a victim of the virus crisis, I am really moved as I feel the strength you are delivering to me. Passengers onboard are also cheering each other on! We have to help each other to get through this challenge together!" Passengers also got to watch the Oscars live in their rooms with the cruise line providing ballots to guests to vote on each category.






Earlier this week, the Princess Cruises assured passengers that they will be refunded the full cruise fare, including "air travel, hotel, ground transportation, pre-paid shore excursions, gratuities, and other items. In addition, guests will not be charged for any onboard incidental charges during the additional time onboard." However, it's not all fun and games onboard the Diamond Princess as by day 7 and 8 of the quarantine it became hard for some to stay positive.








Moreover, many have raised concerns about the crew members who remain at work, tirelessly providing for and interacting with potentially infected passengers. Speaking to CNN, Japan's Vice Minister of Health Gaku Hashimoto said, "We are trying to treat all the people equally. We also know that crew members don't have private rooms like the passengers have, and they still have to work and help on the ship, so it is not all equal. However, we are giving everyone on the ship guidelines for prevention."




Eric Rubin, professor of immunology at Harvard University, pointed out that keeping everyone on board is potentially endangering the crew. "I think a lot of thought went into what to do with the passengers, but it puts the crew at increased risk. It's a closed environment, a ship. It's the perfect place for an infectious disease to spread," he said. However, in a video statement on Wednesday, Princess Cruises Executive Vice President Rai Caluori said that "the quarantine protocols on board the Diamond Princess are completely under the control of the Japanese Ministry of Health." Caluori added that the more than 1,000 crew currently working onboard the ship will receive "normal pay and gratuities and paid time off following the quarantine."



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