Passenger describes watching 'ambulances come and go' aboard quarantined cruise ship

Rosemarie Yerex compares life aboard the Diamond Princess to being locked in your bedroom for 14 straight days, with only books, puzzles and the occasional ambulance driving by to keep you occupied.

Many people on board, including 7 Canadians, tested positive for coronavirus

Some passengers are seen on the Diamond Princess as the cruise ship is anchored at Yokohama Port for a refill of supplies. The 3,700 people on board are in the midst of a two-week quarantine in their cabins. (Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Kyodo News via The Associated Press)

Rosemarie Yerex compares life aboard the Diamond Princess to being locked in your bedroom for 14 straight days, with only books, puzzles and the occasional ambulance driving by to keep you occupied.

The Port Dover, Ont., woman is among the 3,700 passengers and crew on the cruise ship that has been quarantined at Yokohama, Japan, since last Tuesday.

Many people on board, including seven Canadians, have tested positive for the coronavirus infection. The quarantine is scheduled to end Feb. 19. As of Sunday, 69 cases had been identified.

"I feel really sympathetic for those individuals and I feel really fortunate that so far my husband and I are feeling very good," said Yerex during an interview with CBC's John Northcott Sunday.

WATCH | A passenger describes life aboard the Diamond Princess during quarantine: 

Watching 'ambulances come and go': Aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess

3 years ago
Duration 4:38
Rosemarie Yerex of Port Dover, Ont., is aboard a cruise ship where the coronavirus has been found in Yokohama, Japan.

At this point, passengers have been confined to their cabins for days and Yerex said she and her husband are trying to make the best of a bad situation.

"It's a matter of how you look at things. There's nothing we can do to change the circumstances. The only thing you can change is your attitude toward it," she explained.

She estimated the cabin she's cooped up in is about 12 feet by 14 feet (3.6 metres by 4.3 metres).

"If you can imagine being confined to your bedroom for a period of 14 days and not [being] allowed to leave, or only under serious circumstances," she said.

Their day starts by waking up and scanning the internet for any updates. Then they wait for breakfast to come and hope it includes a hot cup of coffee.

The morning's first cup of coffee is "probably one of the things I miss the most," said Yerex.

'All we really want to do is go home'

The ship has been really good about providing newspapers, crossword puzzles and increased internet bandwidth to help passengers fill the hours, she added.

The couple is lucky enough to be staying in an outside cabin, which means they can go out on the balcony for some fresh air.

"We can hang out and watch the ambulances come and go," Yerex said with a wry laugh.

Officials in protective suits drive an ambulance near the Diamond Princess anchored on Feb. 7, 2020. (Eugene Hoshiko/The Associated Press)

She said one of the main things that's helped her cope is staying in contact with family and friends through social media.

With 10 days yet to go before the quarantine is lifted, Yerex told CBC there are too many unknowns about how those on board will be released for her to make any definite plans for the future.

"At this point in time all we really want to do is go home. We'd be very happy to be back in Port Dover."

with files from CBC News and the Associated Press


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