The Diamond Princess cruise ship was quarantined in Japan's Yokohama on February 4, after evidence of the novel coronavirus was found on the vessel. Recently, 44 more people contracted the virus, bringing the total number of cases to 219. This means it's the largest outbreak outside of mainland China. While those who've tested positive are allowed to leave the ship for treatment, everyone else has to remain there at least until February 19.
The passengers have been asked to stay in their rooms, wear masks, and walk on the deck for a couple of minutes each day, keeping at least six feet of distance from others. Their meals are delivered to their room, and they also have plenty of TV, movie, and newspaper options to pass the time.
One more thing they're doing to keep themselves busy is sharing their everyday lives on social media. Their posts provide interesting insights into what it's like to stay on a cruise to nowhere, facing an epidemic that has already claimed more than 1,350 people.
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Bored Panda spoke to one of the passengers on the quarantined ship to get a better understanding of the situation. "We spend way too much time on social media these days," Aun Na Tan, a mom-of-three from Australia, said. "When we have steady internet, it's probably around 12 hours. We mainly chat with family and friends but also check the news and posts by other people."
Their day usually starts when room service wakes them up for breakfast. "We then all have breakfast and check our messages and e-mails. My hubby is working remotely so he logs on to work. We spend the next few hours reading or chatting online. Lunch arrives. We also watch the news and the “wake show” - a program hosted by the cruise director ... We might play a game when the Internet is down or hubby has a free moment from the teleconference. In the evenings, the kids and hubby take turns doing stretches and exercise before dinner arrives. We watch a movie or two before turning in for the night."
The quarantine of the Diamond Princess cruise ship is responsible for creating several online communities as well. Some of the passengers formed groups on WhatsApp and Facebook to fight the isolation and share information. They also focus on keeping each other's spirits up.
"The mood of most passengers we are in contact with is positive," Tan said. "Most people are thankful for the support we are receiving, and we tend to gravitate to people with the same positive vibe as us. We are glad we are together, in comfort and safety."
"To add to the above, we want to express our gratitude and admiration to the captain, the entire crew, and Japanese officials and medical volunteers who have proved countless times that they are working hard to make sure we are staying safe, comfortable and our needs -- both physical and mental -- are met. Also, the multitude of heartwarming messages that we receive from family, friends, and even strangers reaching out to us helps make our day brighter. There are loads of trolls mixed in there but haters gonna hate, and as Taylor Swift says, 'gotta shake it off!' Thank you everyone."
Because of the extraordinary circumstances on board, Princess Cruises will refund the full cruise fare for all 2,666 guests including air travel, hotel, ground transportation, pre-paid shore excursions, gratuities and other items. In addition, guests will not be charged for any on board incidental charges during the additional time on the vessel.