Montreal

Quebec man quarantined aboard cruise ship tests positive for COVID-19

Julien Bergeron is one of 88 new positive cases reported aboard the Diamond Princess, bringing the number of infected people on board to 681, the Japanese health ministry confirmed Tuesday. 

Julien Bergeron is one of 88 new positive cases reported aboard the Diamond Princess

Julien Bergeron (left) has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, one of 88 new cases aboard the Princess Diamond. (Submitted by Manon Trudel)

A Quebec man aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan has contracted COVID-19.

Julien Bergeron, who has been quarantined in a windowless cabin with his partner Manon Trudel for about two weeks, has tested positive for the virus. Trudel's results have not been disclosed yet.

Bergeron is one of 88 new positive cases reported aboard the ship, bringing the number of infected people on the Diamond Princess to 681, the Japanese health ministry confirmed Tuesday.

Bergeron told Radio-Canada's Tout un matin that officials knocked on his door Tuesday morning to tell him he had tested positive for the virus. They asked if he wanted to be transferred to a hospital in the coming days.

"I told them, 'If I have the coronavirus, take me now! I want to go now,'" he said.

But in the hours since, Bergeron said no one has come by to check on his condition, let alone bring him to a hospital.

Passengers who test positive for the virus on board the Diamond Princess are receiving these instructions, detailing the next steps in their treatment. (Submitted by Flavie Trudel)

"I asked to be transferred to a hospital if I'm sick, but we have to wait — wait for what?" he asked. "They've been improvising since the beginning."

Trudel, who teaches a course on biological contaminants at CEGEP de Sorel-Tracy, said the boat was not a proper quarantine and people were not given proper masks to protect themselves from infection.

She said if she tests negative, she doesn't believe she'll be allowed to go with Bergeron to the hospital.

A consular official told her she would probably have to stay on the boat and restart her 14-day quarantine.

But they don't know if that means they will be allowed to return to Canada. 

On Saturday, the Canadian government announced it was sending a chartered plane to repatriate the Canadian passengers on board.

Canadians who are not showing symptoms of COVID-19 infection will be flown to Canadian Forces Base Trenton, in Ontario to be assessed ahead of another 14-day quarantine.

Anyone showing symptoms of infection will be transferred to the Japanese health system to receive care, and will continue to receive full consular services, the statement said.

Bergeron said he has a borderline fever and feels tired, but otherwise has no symptoms of the virus.

"I'm looking forward to leaving this room behind," Bergeron said.

Trudel said she hopes the plane comes soon, as the number of infected people is rising "exponentially."

"I'm prepared to go in the baggage hold if I have to," Trudel said.

With files from Radio-Canada's Tout un matin

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