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Coronavirus cruise ship hell: China virus fears leave 12,000 held captive in a week

Coronavirus is not kind to cruisers.

Coronavirus cruise ship hell: China virus fears leave 12,000 held captive in a week
[Photo: Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images]

A nightmare scenario is unfolding off the coast of Japan, where the Diamond Princess ship is under quarantine due to the new coronavirus that began in Wuhan, China, and passengers are stuck in their rooms. Over 5,700 people are currently stuck on cruise ships in Asia, in addition to the 6,000 people who were held on a ship off the coast of Italy late last week. All told, more than 12,000 people were held captive on cruise ships over the past week as health officials checked for signs of the virus:

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  • Off of Yokohama, Japan, the Diamond Princess ship with 3,700 passengers and crew had 10 people test positive for coronavirus. Japan is insisting that passengers be quarantined on the ship for 14 days, and passengers are being asked to stay in their rooms with free internet and phone service, while mask-wearing workers deliver meals to rooms and hazmat-suit-wearing health authorities screen passengers. Smokers are reportedly forbidden from smoking in their rooms, and laundry facilities are inaccessible. There are over 400 Americans on the ship. The 10 sick people, who are now in hospitals, hail from five countries including the U.S.
  • In Hong Kong, over 1,800 passengers and crew are currently on a Dream Cruises ship that Hong Kong will not let dock, pending the coronavirus test results of 30 crew members who are ill with symptoms such as coughs and sore throats. Three passengers who were previously on board the ship have since been confirmed with coronavirus; the last disembarked on January 24.
  • Off the coast of Italy, 6,000 passengers and crew were held last week due to the flu-like symptoms of a 54-year-old Chinese woman who ultimately tested positive for common flu. The passengers were released.

Just be grateful that you’re not spending half your February in a standard cruise ship room, which is typically 150-185 square feet.

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