• Hopes High On Cruise Ship In Japan Despite Coronavirus Quarantine

Jess and Matt Ellem from Adelaide, Australia
Jess and Matt Ellem from Adelaide, Australia

A hundred and thirty cases of the new coronavirus have been reported among passengers of a cruise ship that's been locked down by the Japanese government near Yokohama.

More than 3,700 people aboard the Diamond Princess have been stranded on the ship since last Wednesday and are pushing through a 14-day quarantine.

Our Ron Chang spoke to one of the passengers to hear how they are all holding up during this tense and scary period.


What was supposed to be a once in a lifetime honeymoon on a luxury cruise for Jess Ellem and her husband Matt has turned out to be anything but.

The newlyweds from Adelaide, Australia left Singapore last month and embarked on a voyage around Asia -- before most of the world knew about the novel coronavirus.

[Clip: Jess: 00:19]
"Our honeymoon began on January 6 when we embarked on our Diamond Princess cruise. We were supposed to get off on February 4 but unfortunately, we are now confined to our cabins and will be until, hopefully, February 19, as long as everything goes well."

Despite their tough situation, the Ellems said they and most other passengers are holding up and getting a lot of support from the cruise line and staff.

[Clip: Jess: 00:12]
"They've got support networks. They are also financially assisting us in regard to helping us recover costs for canceled flights and just doing the best that they can."

Unlike many others staying on the ship in interior cabins, the Ellems said they were staying in a room with an outside balcony, allowing them to get fresh air, which they were thankful for.

They said other passengers were being allowed to walk around the decks under supervision "to ensure that there's no contamination."

Although Jess and Matt are trying to stay positive, staying in contact with their loved ones back home via social media, they have been frustrated by the lack of regular updates about the overall situation, including the growing number of infections on board.

[Clip: Jess: 00:14]
"One of the things that is bothering quite a few passengers is the information in regards to how many have been getting off. We're finding that we're getting that information from the media a lot sooner than we are getting it on board. We're just kind of counting down the days until we can go home."

Ron Chang, eFM News.■

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