Cruise Ship Passengers Were Held in Quarantine for Two Weeks

Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in port during pandemic on quarantine
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in port during pandemic on quarantine

In February 2020, the captain of the cruise ship Diamond Princess was informed that a disembarked passenger tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The captain received that information and took no action. Meanwhile, the ship’s crew kept the big floating party going!

Two days later, at 11:00 pm, the captain spoke to the whole ship. He announced that everyone must remain in their cabins. The ship was docked at Yokohama Port in Japan to wait for health officials to administer tests and discuss symptoms with the passengers aboard. Soon, they found out that they had the largest concentrated number of active COVID-19 cases on the planet aboard (outside mainland China). The first positive cases were found on February 5th. Thus began the infamous “Diamond Princess Quarantine”.

As days went by and the quarantine continued, the passengers and crew seemed to lack understanding about the severity of the virus. The ship’s normal crew had to handle the passengers themselves. There was no Special Ops Covid Team to swoop in and run this mission. There was a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the crew. They did face-to-face deliveries to each passenger cabin for each of the three meals per day, but re-use the same gloves for each delivery. The testing on the ship was reserved for those who started to experience flu-like symptoms. However, nearly 18% of cases on the ship were found among asymptomatic passengers, as the virus was spread unnoticed. A total of 712 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on the ship.

The Diamond Princess quarantine served as a warning to the rest of the world about the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for effective measures to control its spread. It also highlighted the importance of clear communication, adequate supply of PPE, and comprehensive testing to combat the virus.

Following 39 days on board the ship (including more than three weeks in quarantine), the final group of 2,666 passengers ultimately disembarked and commenced their journeys home on February 27th. However, they had to then begin another two-week quarantine in their home countries, which essentially reset the clock. Then, after those two weeks, they finally got to go home, just into time to join the experience of the rest of the world falling apart from the pandemic. It would be really easy to say those passengers will probably never go on another cruise, but you never know. People who love cruises really love cruises.

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About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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