YOKOHAMA, Japan (WJHL) — A Tri-Cities physician trapped with his wife on board a cruise ship at the center of a coronavirus outbreak says he is worried that quarantine efforts onboard are not working.
Dr. Arnold and Jeanie Hopland are among the approximately 3,600 passengers being forced to remain on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked near Tokyo for two weeks.
Tuesday night, the Hopland’s told News Channel 11 that they are still in good health and receiving good treatment from the crew of the ship.
“The Princess cruise line has been wonderfully generous and helpful to every degree they can in a situation they were totally unprepared for,” Hopland said in a phone interview. “I just give them all kinds of praise.”
But Dr. Hopland said an additional 30 people were diagnosed with the respiratory virus on Tuesday, and he’s now concerned that efforts to contain the virus through quarantine are not working.
“This ship has become a real hotbed of disease and every day as more people are diagnosed I believe it’s evidence the current quarantine is ineffective,” Hopland said.
Hopland is calling on the U.S. Department of State to improve communication with passengers and families. He says emails sent by family back in the U.S. to the designated point of contact with the U.S. State Department have not been returned.
“The U.S. State Department is not responding to people who are emailing and attempting to contact them,” he said.
Hopland now thinks its time for the United States to evacuate American citizens and manage a quarantine period off the ship.
About 174 people on the Diamond Princess have been infected including at least 16 Americans.