Hawaii couple among those quarantined on cruise ship after passengers fall ill with coronavirus

Published: Feb. 5, 2020 at 5:25 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - An Ewa Beach couple is among thousands quarantined on a cruise ship off Japan after 10 people on the vessel tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.

Eric and Debra Pagan spent the last two weeks traveling around Asia.

Now, they’re confined to their state room. In all, 3,700 crew and passengers on the ship will be quarantined on board for up to 14 days.

The 10 passengers who tested positive for the virus, meanwhile, were taken to hospitals.

In a video call Tuesday, Eric Pagan showed off his view of Yokohama Harbor as the ship headed out to sea to pick up water that will be desalinated for drinking.

He says the captain of the ship made an announcement Tuesday morning about the passengers who tested positive for the deadly virus.

Since then, they haven’t been able to leave their room but the crew is delivering food and water.

“My wife and I we’re feeling OK," Pagan said. "Last night at dinner, people were talking about it and prior to this I could sense that people were feeling a little nervous about the situation.”

He added that for now, they’ll stay in their room and watch TV.

“They’re giving everyone free internet access. They’re calling their families and texting messages and all that," he said.

Meanwhile, two people from China are seeking asylum in Honolulu.

State officials said the pair was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and are being held at the Federal Detention Center being monitored for the deadly virus.

Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor was briefed on the situation.

“One person may have had a cold. But even so, they are in isolation away from our population. I doubt very much that that’s going to be a coronavirus issue. But even if it was, they are in de facto quarantine right now,” said Josh Green.

The union president for the Honolulu FDC said their members have protection equipment in place like gloves and masks and are doing their best to deal with this new virus.

“Of course it’s the anxiety and the confusion," said Dwayne Bautista. “Mostly on the anxiety part, yes, it was there and they had a lot of questions. That’s why we informed them, we took their questions, we had a meeting.”

Green also toured a quarantine facility at Pearl Harbor, which remains ready for use if needed.

Green said it is a 60-room facility similar to a dormitory.

Patients would stay in quarantine there for two weeks.

He said for safety, security and privacy reasons, the building’s exact location on base is not being disclosed.

“People who are working at Pearl Harbor should not worry,” Green said. “It’s a pretty regular building very secure away from people.”

Green emphasized the risk is low ever since direct flights from China stopped this weekend.

However, staff at the facility stand ready in case the outbreak worsens in Japan or the Philippines.

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