Northern Ontario couple back in Canada after Diamond Princess cruise quarantine
NORTH BAY -- A northern Ontario couple that was on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, that was placed under quarantine due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, is back in Canada.
The couple, Trudy and Stephen Clement, are being held in Cornwall for another two weeks of isolation at the NAV Centre.
This comes as the third passenger, who was on board, has died and 57 more people tested positive for COVID-19.
"We found ourselves not eating very much," Trudy told CTV News from her room via Skype.
The Clements are relieved to be back in Canada after what was supposed to be a routine cruise around Asia, but the coronavirus epidemic had its firm grip on her ship.
"The Canadian health team came over and they were negotiating with the Japanese health team as to if we were in the proper place for a quarantine,” Clement said. “During quarantine on the ship, we were one of the luckier people aboard because we did have a bigger suite than a lot of the people in the inside rooms."
She says the cruise ship quickly plunged into chaos when a passenger tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The Callander, Ont. couple and the nearly 250 other Canadians were quickly isolated, put in their separate rooms and held there for 15 days for tests and monitoring.
After more than two weeks stuck on the ship, the Clements touched down in Canada landing at the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton.
But, they’re not out of the woods yet. Health officials have them isolated once again for another two weeks of monitoring.
Clement says the room they are staying in is like university-sized dorm rooms.
"We have two nurses that come by twice a day to take our temperatures and make sure we’re feeling okay, no headaches, no sore throat, no upset stomach and things like that," said Clement.
Trudy says, if they step out of the room, they have to wear masks and stand six feet apart.
So far, there have been three deaths reported from the Diamond Princess and almost 700 people have become infected by COVID-19.
The federal government says there's a chance those who tested negative for COVID-19 and show no signs of symptoms could be released from quarantine early.
"They will be monitored for symptoms along the journey and through the processing at Trenton, and later on to the NAV Centre, they’ll be processed in terms of their health outcomes," Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu told reporters last week.
The Clements say by far the most nerve-wracking moment came while aboard the Diamond Princess when they had their initial test done to see if they had the virus.
"We had those done on a Saturday night and they told us it was going to be two to three days. And every day, we would sit and wait, wondering if we were the next ones that were going to be removed by ambulance," said Clement.
The couple says they plan to go on cruises again in the future, but only on waters closer to home.
They are supposed to return to their home in Callander on March 6, if their health permits.