This Canadian couple still loves cruises despite being stuck in quarantine

TORONTO — A Canadian couple aboard the Diamond Princess ship docked in Yokohama, Japan, said the experience of being under quarantine has not ruined their love of cruises.

Global Affairs Canada announced late Saturday night that the government had chartered a plane to repatriate Canadian passengers from the quarantined ship, but has not given an exact date.

The Diamond Princess has the largest concentration of cases of COVD-19 outside of China, with the Japanese Health Ministry announcing Monday that 99 more people are infected, bringing the total to 454.

The ship has about 3,700 passengers and crew and 15 of the infected passengers are Canadian. Those showing symptoms of COVID-19 during pre-flight screening will not be allowed to board with the rest of the evacuees back to Canada and will instead receive treatment in Japan, according to the Global Affairs statement.

Edmonton couple Jenny and Mark Rodrigue, who are among those quarantined on Diamond Princess said in an interview with CTV News Channel Monday that getting the news of 99 more cases of COVID-19 on the ship was “shocking.”

“It’s obvious now, there had been debate over whether we were being confined and protected properly, and it looks like we weren’t,” Rodrigue said, adding that passengers allegedly did not receive the proper masks for days.

“Now you have all these experts saying we should never have been confined in a ship in the first place, well maybe the experts should have told us that and we could have been back in Canada,” he continued. 

However, the couple is sympathetic to the Japanese health authorities, who Jenny Rodrigue said are “playing it day-by-day.”

“It is what it is,” she said. “We just have to accept it and move forward. It would be nice to be in our own country even though there is another 14-day quarantine period.”

“I have all the confidence that the Japanese health authorities are as good as any in the rest of the world,” continued Mark. “Everybody is still struggling with how to deal with these things.”

The couple stressed that the experience had not dampened their love of going on cruises, and instead expressed excitement over the prospect of seeing friends and family upon their return.

“They’re going to be relieved when they see us on the plane… but we want to make sure we aren’t carrying anything before we see friends and family,” Mark said.

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