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

A Quebec man on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan is among the 43 Canadians who have contracted the novel coronavirus as the number of cases continues to climb.

Julien Bergeron tested positive for the virus known as COVID-19 and his partner, Manon Trudel, is still awaiting her results. She says Bergeron hasn’t received medical attention since his diagnosis.

“He has a fever,” she told Global News in an interview from the ship. “He’s doing worse.”

The Diamond Princess has been held in the port city of Yokohama since Feb. 3, after a man who disembarked from the ship in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus, to prevent sickening others.

As of Tuesday, more than 450 of the 3,700 passengers and crew aboard have tested positive for the infectious COVID-19.

The Quebec couple has been outspoken over what they describe as improvised quarantine measures on the ship.

Trudel, who is a CEGEP professor who specializes in biological contaminants, said passengers were initially given the wrong masks. During the quarantine, she has had to fix other travellers’ masks and teach them how to properly wear them.

“It’s terrible,” she said. “It’s improvisation.”

Many scientists have also argued the Diamond Princess ended up serving as an incubator instead of a quarantine facility, but the Japanese government has defended the practice.

While some travellers are set to arrive home later this week, both Japanese and Canadian authorities said that only people who are examined and deemed to be healthy will fly home.

Global Affairs Canada said in a statement on Tuesday that it is working closely with Japan and the cruise ship company to repatriate Canadians “very soon.”

The Canadians who do fly back this week will face quarantine rules when they land. They will be taken to the Canadian Forces Base Trenton, in southern Ontario, for health examinations before being moved on to a Nav Canada training centre in Cornwall, Ont.

Those who have tested positive for the virus are being transferred to hospitals in Japan but Bergeron is still on the ship and he has yet to see a doctor.

Trudel said she is worried about him.

“He hasn’t seen anyone in 14 hours,” said Trudel. “Nobody.”

If she has a choice, Trudel said she would like to stay with Bergeron but she is concerned that it won’t be possible.

“You have to understand if there is no place at the hospital for the people who are sick, there won’t be space for the people who are not sick,” she said.

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