Cabin fever hits cruise ship

Top News | Michael Shum and Reuters 11 Feb 2020

There are 65 new confirmed cases aboard the Diamond Princess ship in Japan, operator Princess Cruises said.

Japan said the 45 Japanese, 11 Americans, four Australians, three Filipinos and one each from Canada and Ukraine took the total to 136.

The Diamond Princess was placed under quarantine for two weeks upon arriving in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, a week ago, after an 80-year-old man who disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus.

"Lots of passengers now are getting a bit of cabin fever," Briton David Able said on social media. "Depression is starting to set in."

A 43-year-old Hongkonger, who is with his wife, child and other relatives, said, "I will get nervous if we pass 200 [confirmed cases].

The Hong Kong Immigration Department said two of its officers arrived last night to provide help. It also said no Hongkonger was among the 65 new cases.

The cruise company said on Sunday that three of the 260 Hongkongers on board were infected, and that the others from Hong Kong have been in isolation since Wednesday.

The news came as 46 Hongkongers said a tour agency refused to refund them after they decided against boarding the World Dream cruise ship.

Lee, who booked the four-day trip leaving on Sunday for Taiwan in December, said her plea for a change of itinerary or a refund was rejected, and that an employee only offered to reschedule two days later.

Lee eventually opted not to board and demanded a refund, but she said the travel agency and the cruise operator were shirking their responsibility.

"For other journeys, Princess Cruises has refund arrangements for tourists who wish to cancelp amid the coronavirus scare, but as our journey was arranged by the tour company, it said we would have to deal with the travel agency ourselves," Lee said.

"The agency is only willing to let us board a cruise liner by the same operator at a later date and refusing to give us a refund or to allow the trip to be changed to other forms of travel."

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