Norfolk trio among those on quarantined ship in Japan

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Three Norfolk County residents are on a cruise ship that has been quarantined off the coast of Japan.

Greg and Rose Yerex, along with Kate Bedding, all of Port Dover, are on the Diamond Princess, which is carrying 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew members. The vessel was first quarantined in Yokohama on Feb. 4 following a confirmed outbreak of the new coronavirus.

The Norfolk residents have not tested positive for the virus but on Feb. 7 Princess Cruises, which operates the Diamond Princess, said five more Canadians on the ship tested positive, bringing the total on board the vessel to seven. They are among 41 people who learned Friday they have contracted the new coronavirus.

Earlier last week and throughout January, Bedding was posting photos to her Facebook page from places such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

“There’s not a lot of room to pace the floor in here,” Rose Yerex told CTV News. “My husband and I are joking that we’re like John Lennon and Yoko Ono, we’re in bed a lot.”

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Rose also told CTV that the ship’s captain is keeping everyone informed of what is going on, while the crew attempts to keep everyone fed. They have internet access to connect with their family and friends.

In a message to the Simcoe Reformer Greg said their room is about 12 feet by 14 feet with a king-sized bed, so there isn’t room for much more than watching TV or reading. He said they’re more worried about cabin fever than the virus.

The three are making the most of their time on ship. Greg posted a photo of Bedding looking down from her balcony smiling and waving at them.

“We are handling this fairly well,” Bedding said in a message to the Reformer. “It’s darn inconvenient but all of us understand that this virus has to be brought under control.”

Bedding mentioned that since the news broke that they are on the ship she has been spending a fair amount of time replying to messages.

“It is so heart-warming to get all that love from people,” she said.

Between responding to messages, practising her fiddle and reading the books she has on her e-reader, Bedding said she isn’t bored.

As of Monday, a total of 134 people have been removed from the ship for testing positive with the virus, five of which were crew members. All who tested positive have been or will be taken to local hospitals for treatment.

In addition to the seven from Canada, they include 28 from Japan, 11 from the United States, seven from Australia, three from Hong Kong, one each from Argentina, Britain, New Zealand and Taiwan, and one Filipino crew member. One is in serious condition, Japanese media reported.

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On Saturday, Greg posted a photo in a facemask getting ready to take their first walk on the deck, where they have to make sure they stay at least a metre away from anyone else. In light of the cases doubling over the weekend the trio have decided to avoid future deck walks. They have received fresh linens and new N95 face masks.

All three are anxious to return home, with Bedding adding she’s excited to see her dogs when she returns to Canada.

They had to cancel their flight home from Tokyo and are unable to book a new flight until they know when they will be able to leave the ship.

Of the latest 41 to be diagnosed, 21 are aged in their 70s and six are in their 80s, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK reported, citing the health ministry.

– With files from Postmedia wire services

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