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‘It’s actually quite comfortable’: Alberta couple on cruise ship quarantined over coronavirus

Canadians describe quarantine experience on cruise ship off Japan
WATCH ABOVE: Thousands of people are holed up on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan after a passenger tested positive for the new coronavirus. Since then, many more have fallen ill including Canadians so the ship was placed in quarantine. Caryn Lieberman reports.

A husband and wife from central Alberta say they are “feeling quite happy and relaxed” quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in the port city of Yokohama, just outside Tokyo.

Lolita and Hans Wiesner, from Red Deer, were scheduled to disembark on Feb. 4, after a 29-day cruise. They planned to visit a few countries in Europe when the quarantine was announced.

“If you have to be quarantined, being on a luxury cruise ship is probably the best place to be,” Lolita Wiesner said in a Skype interview Tuesday.

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“The room is tiny but it’s not too bad. It’s actually quite comfortable,” she said.

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“We get good food. We had a bottle of wine delivered earlier. Really, life is good.”

A total of 135 people, including eight Canadians, aboard Carnival Corp. ship have contracted a new form of coronavirus that has killed hundreds and sickened thousands in China.

READ MORE: COVID-19: New coronavirus disease named by World Health Organization

The ship’s 3,700 passengers and crew are expected to remain under quarantine until at least Feb. 19.

The Canadian government is monitoring the well-being of 285 Canadians quarantined on the Diamond Princess and another cruise ship anchored off Hong Kong.

Lolita and Hans Wiesner are shown on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in this recent handout photo. A couple from Red Deer, Alta., says they are “feeling quite happy and relaxed” quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in the port city of Yokohama, just outside Tokyo.
Lolita and Hans Wiesner are shown on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in this recent handout photo. A couple from Red Deer, Alta., says they are “feeling quite happy and relaxed” quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in the port city of Yokohama, just outside Tokyo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Lolita and Hans Wiesner

The Wiesners said there’s not much point worrying about things that are out of their control, and they are making the best of the time they have.

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“We’re spreading our good cheer,” Lolita Wiesner said.

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Beginning Monday, the passengers were asked to wear masks when interacting with staff who dropped off deliveries at their rooms, she said.

Novel coronavirus: Eighth Canadian on cruise ship contracts coronavirus
Novel coronavirus: Eighth Canadian on cruise ship contracts coronavirus

They also wear masks when they go out to spend about an hour on the deck every day.

“And we have been asked to keep two metres space between when we speak with someone,” she said, adding most people are focused on walking or exercising during their deck time.

READ MORE: Canadian among 66 new cases of coronavirus aboard Japan cruise ship: officials

The Wiesners don’t have a balcony or a window, but that hasn’t deterred them from having a good time doing Sudoku, watching movies and reading books.

“I’m embarrassed to tell you I’m reading smut,” said Wiesner.

While they’re relaxing, “eating well” and “gaining weight,” the couple said they also follow all the protocols put in place by the authorities and take their temperature at least three times a day.

Hans Wiesner said there’s always the possibility that they could become infected.

“It’s unlikely, but it’s always in the back of your mind.”

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READ MORE: Couple trapped on cruise ship quarantined over coronavirus taking it ‘day by day’

Despite their optimistic outlook, the pair admit to one complaint.

“We’re missing our nightly chocolates,” Lolita Wiesner said of the bedtime treat staff left on their pillows each night.

But they have a “stash” of eight pieces leftover from their pre-quarantine days, she said.

“So, we get one every other day until the end.”