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After recovering from coronavirus in Japan, Quebec woman hopes to return home soon

Manon Trudel, left, was treated for COVID-19 in a hospital in Japan.
Manon Trudel, left, was treated for COVID-19 in a hospital in Japan. Courtesy of Manon Trudel

A Quebec woman who contracted the novel coronavirus while quarantined with her husband on a cruise ship in Japan has recovered.

Manon Trudel said she did not have any symptoms after she learned she had contracted COVID-19 but that was she was concerned during her hospital stay.

“What’s difficult is not knowing,” she said. “What is difficult is always being worried and to not have test results.”

While Trudel has been cleared of the infectious disease, she said her husband Julien Bergeron is still experiencing symptoms after he contracted the virus in February.

READ MORE: Quebec couple affected by COVID-19 on cruise ship slam quarantine measures as ‘improvisation’

Bergeron is expected to undergo a scan this week as well as more tests. While his blood tests have improved, Trudel said his pulmonary x-rays have not shown any change.

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“He’s doing well, however,” she said, adding that she was pleased to be able to see him after nearly 10 days apart in different hospitals.

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The Quebec couple was vacationing on the Diamond Princess cruise ship when it was held for weeks in the port city of Yokohama in Japan. After a man who disembarked from the boat in Hong Kong was diagnosed with COVID-19, passengers and crew members were quarantined.

The ship was only completely vacated late last week, after 130 staffers got off the Princess Cruise Line vessel.

Trudel, a CEGEP professor who specializes in biological contaminants, has been openly critical about what she described as improvised quarantine measures on the ship.

READ MORE: Last crew members leave quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship

Of the 3,711 people on board the Diamond Princess, about 705 were infected on the ship. Japan’s handling of the quarantine triggered international criticism and questions about the country’s disease control capability.

Trudel said on Wednesday that the preventive measures at the hospital were significantly better than on the ship but that she only tested positive for the virus after she arrived at the healthcare institution.

However, what has been difficult is getting treatment or help since she predominantly speaks French. She said that she relied on an app to translate her exchanges with healthcare workers, but that it often translated “coronavirus” to “cocaine” and led to confusion.

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“Coronavirus is still not in their translation dictionary so it translates to cocaine,” she said. “So when I asked if I had the coronavirus, it translated to ‘do I have the cocaine?’ That wasn’t the question.

“So we laughed. They were very nice, so we laughed.”

The couple is hoping to eventually go home, but Trudel said that her husband needs to be well before they can consider leaving.

“We will leave as fast as we can,” she said. “But we don’t know when that will be.”

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— With files from Global News’ Mike Armstrong, the Canadian Press and the Associated Press