ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL)- A Tri-Cities couple on vacation in Asia is quarantined on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan.
Their dream vacation has been extended for at least the next two weeks after the discovery of 10 active cases of the Coronavirus on the ship.
News Channel 11 made contact with Dr. Arnold and Jeanie Hopland Wednesday afternoon by phone.
The Hoplands are among the approximately 3,700 passengers on The Diamond Princess, part of the Princess Cruise Line fleet who’ve been told to stay in their rooms for the next two weeks.
“As we were getting ready to get off the boat we had our suitcases in the hall and they said hold it,” Hopland said.
Two days ago, the Hopland’s cruise through Southeast Asia was about to conclude when an announcement was made by the captain.
“Suddenly, we got a notice that there would be a 24-hour delay,” Hopland said. “We rescheduled airline flights. Then the response came there was Coronaviirus on the ship and there would be a minimum of 2-week quarantine. We really don’t know we will be released at that point but we hope so.”
Dr. Hopland, a well-known Tri-Cities physician, says a 24-hour inspection of the ship found 10 active cases. Sick passengers were taken off the ship.
The Hoplands say people on board were told to go to their rooms and stay there. Food is being delivered by cruise line staff wearing masks.
“I’m not frustrated with the quarantine,” Hopland said. “It’s the only responsible thing for a society to do.”
“Until we get a vaccine quarantine is the only thing that is effective to stop the spread of contagious disease,” he said.
The Hoplands say they’re feeling fine. Dr. Hopland said his bigger concern was the flu epidemic back home in the Tri-Cities that he worries is even more deadly.
“The flu going around… is a big deal, and it concerns me as much if not more than this Coronavirus is of interest.”
“If you would, encourage everyone to even now get a flu shot if not for themselves for those people they are around because it protects others from the transmission,” Hopland said.
Health officials say an American citizen was among the ten passengers who tested positive for the Coronavirus on the ship.
The latest count indicated 2,400 people have contracted the virus worldwide, most of them in Asia.
A 12th case has been confirmed in the United States.
That confirmation came in the state of Wisconsin.