Family member questions effectiveness of cruise-ship quarantine

The son of a Citrus County couple stuck on a quarantined cruise ship near Japan says health officials need to do more to help passengers onboard.

On Monday, Princess Cruises confirmed 66 new cases of people who tested positive for coronavirus while onboard the Diamond Princess ship, bringing the total to at least 135 people infected.

Citrus County residents Gay and Phil Courter are among the 3,700 passengers in the middle of a 14-day quarantine over coronavirus concerns off the coast of Yokohama.

“Everyone’s in the same boat, literally, and my parents need to get off the boat and everyone else needs to get off the boat,” said Blake Courter, the couple’s son.

Courter said his family is more concerned now than before.

“There are idle moments when they realize what could happen,” Courter said. “It’s especially scary when you think about if one of them were to get sick and not the other.” 

Gay Courter

He said his parents have not been tested for the virus, something he wishes would happen since they're sharing a cabin.

Passengers are required to wear masks and monitor their temperatures. However, since they're self-monitoring, Courter questions how effective the quarantine is.

“Everyone involved including the cruise company is doing a pretty good job, the best they can under the circumstances,” said Courter. “The problem is we’ve got to get people off the boat, and that comes down to the Japanese authorities and maybe some other governments helping.”