CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. — Four Bay Area residents are among those stranded on the Diamond Princess cruise ship due to a coronavirus outbreak.
- Coronavirus death toll now at 908
- Passengers on Japanese cruise ship quarantined
- Four Crystal River residents on board ship
The Japanese government quarantined the ship on Tuesday in the port of Yokohana, after several people on board tested positive for the virus.
New numbers show at least 135 people are now infected as of Monday. Twenty four of them are Americans.
The passengers are under mandatory quarantine for another nine days as passengers are mostly kept inside their own cabins.
Some Americans on board say it is like being in a cage.
"The time I really sense it is when the crew comes by and knocks on the door to hand you your food and then the doors close as though somehow it's the feeding of the zoo animals," said Matthew Smith.
A couple from Crystal River in Citrus County are alson on the ship. Gay and Phil Courter are vacationing with another couple from Crystal River.
They said they are not allowed to leave their stateroom and have been stuck inside for six days.
"It feels like we’ve landed in a horror movie," Gay said. "We look out every morning, there’s more ambulances, there’s military vehicles, there’s people running around in white hazmat suits."
They were hoping to be able to leave the ship on February 19, but with more cases found on Monday, that time may be extended.
The couple has been given thermometers to check their temperature. They are being fed and said the crews are trying to keep them entertained with TV shows and games. However, they worry about their risk of exposure to the virus.
"I don’t feel safe here," Gay said. "If one of us gets sick, they will separate us. And we will be in a foreign hospital without support."
The death toll from the virus has now risen to 908.
Over the weekend, officials confirmed the first coronavirus-related death of a U.S. citizen. The 60-year-old patient died at a hospital in Wuhan, China, which seems to be the birthplace of the virus.
So far, there have been no deaths here in the U.S. and no cases in Florida.