‘It felt like everyday cold’: Student describes catching the coronavirus

A passenger wearing a mask stands on the deck of the cruise ship Diamond Princess, at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, on February 13.(Reuters Photo)
A passenger wearing a mask stands on the deck of the cruise ship Diamond Princess, at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, on February 13.(Reuters Photo)
Updated on Feb 14, 2020 01:50 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

The coronavirus-affected passengers on a cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Japan are said they don’t have much to do and want to go back home as soon as possible.

“All I can do is to wait and tweet,” a Japanese national told news agency Associated Press onboard the Diamond Princess. Talking about life on the ship, he said he spends his days mostly taking photos of each meal and posting them anonymously on Twitter. The man did not reveal his name due to privacy concerns.

Others, however, has been compiling regular food reviews on Twitter. One of them is Matthew Smith.

 

A law student, meanwhile, described how it feels to contract the virus.

“Honestly, it just felt like your everyday cold. Like, I feel absolutely fine now, physically,” Bianca D’Silva, a law student in Australia, told a local TV channel. “I had a bit of headache before and just a slight fever but that’s about it, honestly,” said the 20-year-old who was taken off the ship and to a hospital along with her mother.

Some crew members who’ve tested positive for the virus are restaurant, bar or housekeeping staff who most likely had contact with passengers until February 5 when the first test results were released and restaurants and bars were closed.

“Until the quarantine started, everything was business as usual, and everyone was freely moving around on board, so there are various possibilities of infection during that time,” said Kazuho Taguchi, director of global health cooperation at the health ministry. Crew members still share rooms, as the number of cabins for them is limited, Taguchi added.

Guests must often change their own sheets, clean their bathrooms and do their own laundry because contact with the crew has been limited since the first 10 cases were confirmed on board.

The boat has added more movies and TV channels to try to help with the boredom. People without balconies are allowed to walk on the deck for about an hour each day, as long as they keep 6 feet (2 meters) apart. Passengers chat and wave to each other from their balconies.

A couple from Syracuse, Cheryl and Paul Molesky, can be seen in their YouTube videos lounging, often in plush bathrobes, on their balcony in the boat, enjoying the sweeping views of a glittering, sun-streaked ocean and, on occasion, snow-capped Mount Fuji. 

The ship has a sushi restaurant, Japanese style bath and theater, but passengers are now mostly confined to their rooms.

Authorities in Japan say isolating people on board is the way to prevent the disease’s spread; other experts say the measure could create more infection.

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