A Santa Clarita couple is among the 2,600 passengers quarantined aboard a luxury cruise ship where dozens were diagnosed with a new deadly strain of coronavirus.
Carl Goldman and Jeri Seratti-Goldman, owners of KHTS Radio, said they are confined to their cabins for about two weeks aboard the Diamond Princess as it remained docked Friday in the port of Yokohama, outside Tokyo.
Officials said that 64 people from the ship had the fast-spreading virus.
On their final day of the 16-day cruise, the couple learned of a passenger who had already left the ship and was diagnosed with the virus. Health officials came aboard the ship, going room to room and testing passengers with ear thermometers, for hours.
Friday was the couple's fourth day quarantined to their cabin, and they described having to do their laundry in the bathroom and using water bottles for weights.
"This is the longest we've been away from home," Carl Goldman said. "We thought we were gonna leave the ship Monday morning. That didn't happen."
Jeri Seratti-Goldman said their cabin had a television and a balcony, which made the quarantine easier.
But she was looking forward to being allowed to go for a short walk on the deck.
"We've got date night, Saturday night, where we get to go out — hopefully — for an hour... another adventure in our crazy lives," she quipped.
Others aboard the ship described having a hard time confined to their cabins.
“It’s not going to be a luxury cruise; it’s going to be like a floating prison,” David Abel posted to Facebook from the ship. Abel had gone on the cruise to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary.
As Japanese officials loaded the Diamond Princess with supplies to make the quarantine as bearable as possible, passengers took to social media to highlight kindnesses by the crew — and to complain about dwindling medicine, the quality of the food and their inability to exercise or even leave their cabins.
Photos and videos showed the vessel that once had 3,711 passengers and crew is now a ghost ship of deserted reception areas, swimming pools and hallways. Babies on another ship docked in Hong Kong were reportedly running out of diapers and milk.
The passenger who was first diagnosed with the virus is an 80-year-old from Hong Kong who flew into Tokyo before boarding.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday that Japan will deny entry of foreign passengers on another cruise ship heading to Japan — Holland America's cruise ship Westerdam, on its way to Okinawa from Hong Kong — because of suspected coronavirus patients found on the ship.
The new virus has killed at least 722 people and sickened over 34,000 in China. It causes fever, cough, shortness of breath and, in severe cases, pneumonia.