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COVID-19: Edmonton couple on quarantined Diamond Princess wait for plane to evacuate Canadians

Edmontonians stuck on cruise ship over coronavirus concerns close to coming home
WATCH: An Edmonton couple that has been quarantined on a cruise ship in Japan over COVID-19 concerns is set to return to Canada this week.

An Edmonton couple quarantined on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship is eagerly awaiting a chartered plane back to Canada.

RELATED: ‘We do get fresh air’: Edmonton couple trapped on ship quarantined over coronavirus

Jenny and Mark Rodrigue are wrapping up a 14-day quarantine over coronavirus concerns on the cruise ship docked at Yokohama, Japan.

“Today is day 13 of cabin arrest,” Jenny said.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Ontario couple on quarantined Diamond Princess say days are ‘long and boring’

“Thirteen days we cannot walk the hallways or walk the ship or leave our room. They did allow us out for monitored walk, which was great, and today we’re supposed to go on a monitored walk.”

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However, the couple said they were declining the offer.

“We’re just staying inside. We made it this far so why take any chances?” Mark said.

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The cruise ship has been quarantined since Feb. 3, after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong before it travelled to Japan was diagnosed with the virus. The quarantine period is supposed to end Wednesday.

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READ MORE: Federal government charters plane to evacuate Canadians on board Diamond Princess

Some 3,700 passengers and crew were aboard the ship, where the most coronavirus infections outside China have occurred.

There were 255 Canadians aboard the ship and at least 15 have tested positive for the virus.

COVID-19 outbreak: Plane heads to Japan for Canadian cruise passengers
COVID-19 outbreak: Plane heads to Japan for Canadian cruise passengers

“We know three people that have been diagnosed and they all feel perfectly fine. They’re just carrying the virus and it’s a serious, contagious item,” Mark said.

Passengers will be screened for any symptoms before they board the plane back to Canada. Those exhibiting symptoms will not be allowed to board and will be transferred to Japanese health facilities.

“We always knew somebody was coming to get us right from day one after our 14-day period was up,” Mark said.

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The charter plane will fly the evacuees from Japan to the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, Ont. They will be assessed then transferred to the NAV Canada Training Institute in Cornwall, Ont. for an additional 14-day quarantine period.

“We’re not excited about it but it is what it is. We’re going with the flow. If I owned a country, I wouldn’t want anybody coming to my country with a virus,” Jenny said.

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READ MORE: 14 Americans evacuated from Japan cruise ship test positive for coronavirus

However, the timeline on the evacuation is still unclear. Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the federal government is still working on finalizing how many passengers want to return to Canada and flight details.

“We anticipate [the flight] probably will arrive later this week but we don’t have definite arrival times yet,” said Hajdu in Vancouver on Monday.

READ MORE: COVID-19: B.C. man on quarantined Japanese cruise ship gets early flight home on U.S. plane

The couple said they are still awaiting their test results but have been maintaining a positive attitude through the whole situation.

“Attitude plays a big part in your well-being. Having a lot of anxiety and being stressed out does not help your immune system, so therefore we are taking the positive approach,” Jenny said.

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The pair said they have been passing the time with exercise, sketching and watching the news.

Some American passengers aboard the ship said they would pass up the opportunity to take a flight to the U.S. because of the additional quarantine, but the Edmonton husband and wife, who are retired, are looking forward to get off the ship.

“I’d prefer to take the first opportunity to get on a plane and get closer to home,” Mark said.

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–with files from the Associated Press