Passengers Stranded on Quarantined Japan Cruise Plead for Help From Trump

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
February 10, 2020Updated: February 10, 2020

Two American passengers who are being held on a quarantined cruise ship off the coast of Japan that has seen more than 100 cases of the new coronavirus have asked the White House for help.

Americans Milena Basso and her husband, Gaetano Cerullo, said they are trapped on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan, near Yokohama. On Monday, Japanese health officials confirmed that 135 people have been sickened with the virus. Of the new cases, 11 are American citizens.

Along with about 3,700 other passengers and crew members, Cerullo and Basso have to stay on the vessel for about two weeks in medical isolation. Speaking in an interview last week, the two said they have been held on the ship since last Tuesday, Feb. 4.

The couple told Fox News that they are physically “pretty good” but mentally “not so great.”

“We are kind of worried because we’ve still got two weeks on here assuming that works out in our favor and we still have to get onto American soil,” Cerullo told the outlet. “And, if Donald Trump could help us in any way…”

In elaborating, the pair said they are having difficulty getting food and water on the medically isolated vessel.

Japan cruiseship quarentined Diamond Princess 1
Cruise ship Diamond Princess is anchored off the shore of Yokohama, south of Tokyo on Feb. 5, 2020. (Hiroko Harima/Kyodo News via AP)

“I don’t know how many people have been on a cruise, but you can eat a lot of food pretty fast. Once the quarantine happened, what we could eat basically went downhill,” said Cerullo. “The first day when we asked for two bottles of water it took four hours and the next day we got two cups,” he added.

Princess Cruises, the operator of the ship, didn’t respond for a request for comment on the couple’s claims. Carnival Corp., which owns Princess Cruises, also didn’t respond for comment.

The couple also said that officials started screening passengers on Monday with an ear thermometer without a disposable tip. Meanwhile, they alleged that the cruise operator has not provided updates in a timely manner, adding that news outlets were receiving information before they did.

“So, basically, I know what’s going on before they even tell us from our parents at home … and, they update us but it’s always been very lagged,” said Cerullo. “It’s been vague up until maybe today” and has not been as “thorough as it should be,” Basso said. “So, we were a little concerned about that.”

Princess Cruises, in a statement on Monday, announced that guests will receive a full refund for the trip, air travel, hotel accommodations, ground transportation, and a number of other services.

“Our guests and crew onboard Diamond Princess are the focus of our entire global organization right now and all of our hearts are with each of them,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “In this unprecedented situation, the Japanese Ministry of Health authorities are working with us collaboratively on additional enhancements, approving new procedures as we adapt our process to the unique challenges of this situation.”

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