YOKOHAMA, Japan — Mark Jorgensen and his wife Jerri have been living in St. George for the last 30 years, but right now they’re quarantined on a cruise ship docked in Japan.
Utahns quarantined in Japan
“The coronavirus wasn’t even in the news by the time that we left,” Jorgensen told Dave and Dujanovic. “It was just starting to make headlines a few days after we got on the ship. We finished the cruise and saw all the sights and had a great time, and we came back the last night and they announced there was a patient diagnosed with the virus.”
Jorgensen says that the man who had been diagnosed was from Hong Kong and boarded the ship in Tokyo and had gotten off the ship in Hong Kong without telling anyone he was feeling ill.
Last night the guy that brought our dinner was wearing a hazmat suit. They’re telling us now not to answer the door without a mask on.
Jorgensen says when they were informed, they were only expecting a one day delay. But now they’ve been in their cabin for almost a week and will be staying put for another seven days.
The cruise that stretched on and on
“The night before we were supposed to get off they announced that the ship would be staying for an extra 24 hours while they screened everyone,” Jorgensen said.
He says their bags were packed and they expected to be back in Utah just a day later than expected. They were wrong.
“The ship had a whole day of activities planned for us and we had free rein of the ship and a regular dinner and all that,” Jorgensen continued. “The next night they announced they had found 10 more cases and there would be a 14-day quarantine and we would be confined to our rooms.”
That was a week ago. Jorgensen says the US State Department and the Embassy in Tokyo told them to expect to remain on the ship for another week.
Now, Princess Cruises says there are 24 Americans among the 135 people on board that are infected
What do you do while you’re trapped on a cruise ship?
Jorgensen says that they have all of their meals delivered but that the protective measurements that the crew is taking have been stepped up.
“Last night the guy that brought our dinner was wearing a hazmat suit. They’re telling us now not to answer the door without a mask on,” he said.
Jorgensen says they’ve been getting lots of naps and steadily working through their movie catalog. Playing games and reading also help keep them busy while they’re quarantined and confined to their room.
“We do have access to the internet though, but we can’t do any streaming, so no Netflix for us,” he said.
Making the best of it
He does say they’ve been pretty lucky though that a couple they were traveling with is right next door so they’ve been able to communicate across balconies.
Jorgensen also says that they have gotten the chance to get out of their rooms and head up to the deck for some sunshine and fresh air.
“They call a section at a time and say ‘OK this section can go up and be back in an hour’ and we’ve been up once in the four days.”
He says that today they made the announcement that the cruise line will be changing the time they’re allowing for passengers on the deck to give those on the inside cabins more time in the sunshine which Jorgensen says is totally fair.
Jorgensen says that they’ve been getting updates from the US Embassy in Tokyo that they should be able to go home on February 19th.
Princess Cruise Lines promised to refund their airfare and the quarantined Jorgensens plan on taking them up on that offer.
“There is no way this could have been predicted, they’ve got thousands of people boarding dozens of ships every day and I think they’ve been incredibly generous … I don’t worry about [this happening again].”
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