Citrus County couples still stuck on cruise ship in Japan as number of coronavirus cases increase

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Gay Courter is keeping track of the days she and her husband Philip from Citrus County are in quarantine on the cruise ship off the coast of Japan during the worst coronavirus outbreak outside of mainland China.

“I’m reading it as day nine on my little prison sheet here,” she told 8 On Your Side over Skype Wednesday night, holding up her sheet crossing off the days since the quarantine began.

Overnight, after 8 On Your Side’s new interview with Courter, Japanese health officials announced Thursday that 44 more people on the cruise ship have tested positive for the virus.

Courter said Japanese officials have been reluctant to send test kits for passengers not from Japan and she only received one temperature check in her ear on the first day of quarantine.

“Nobody has come by to check us,” she said. “We have thermometers that we are supposed to self-monitor.”

At least one other couple from Citrus County is on the cruise ship, Congressman Daniel Webster’s office told 8 On Your Side.

According to the U.S. Department of State, 428 U.S. citizens originally got on the Diamond Princess and “multiple U.S. passengers have tested positive for coronavirus, and have been transported to local hospitals for treatment.”

NBC News reports that at least 32 Americans have become infected.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases connected to the cruise ship is up to 219. One of the new cases announced Tuesday involves a Japanese quarantine officer.

Seven hundred and thirteen people have been tested since the ship returned to the Yokohama Port on Feb. 3, Japanese health officials said.

With her medications running low, Courter told 8 On Your Side today she is expecting a Fed Ex delivery from Tampa Bay.

“Folks in Tampa General Hospital, some friends there put together a care package, got in touch with our doctor, got our prescriptions, picked everything up,” Courter said.

She said her message for U.S. government is that the quarantine has failed and she fears other passengers and crew members on board are already infected.

“Come and get us,” Courter said, “President Trump you have a military base a few miles up the river here in Japan.”

Having met all of the challenges so far with her husband, Courter said she isn’t only worried about one of them becoming infected.

“The idea of being separated is almost as terrifying as getting sick,” she said.

In an email to 8 On Your Side, a Department of State spokesperson said officials from the U.S. embassy in Tokyo are visiting the hospitalized Americans. The email said a CDC epidemiologist has also traveled to Japan to help Americans still stuck on the cruise ship.

After the quarantine period ends, the email said American citizens will be allowed to take commercial flights home and they wont be subject to further quarantine.

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