The quarantine continues for the over 2,600 passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Yokohoma, Japan which now has at least 175 confirmed cases of the coronavirus on board. Those who are not infected have been mostly confined to their rooms, only being allowed a few minutes outside each day for fresh air as long as they stay six feet apart from other passengers.

The long hours in small rooms can get lonely, but judging by the tweets coming out of the ship, many individuals are using the internet to share their ordeal with the world and keep their spirits up.

In order to keep their passengers happy during the two-week quarantine, Diamond Princess has provided them with good food, care packages for the kids, and wireless internet as well as plenty of water and medical supplies. The cruise line even streamed the Oscars live into each of the rooms and created their own ballots so that passengers could vote on each category.

The ship’s crew has been working around the clock to cook and hand-deliver three meals per day to every room. Tweeting passengers have been expressing their approval as to the quality of the meals, which have included “beef salad, goulash, and a goat cheese dish, along with cake, and the obligatory roll.”

“And don’t let anyone diss the rolls,” wrote Matthew Smith.

One passenger created a Twitter account specifically to post updates on the situation aboard the Diamond Princess ship, calling it “quarantinedondiamondprincess” and posting multiple tweets daily about new cases of illness, announcements from the company, and personal thoughts. On Tuesday they posted a photo showing a fleet of ambulances ready on the nearby dock in case anyone needs emergency care.

However, by days seven and eight, it was difficult for them to keep the worry from creeping up.

In an effort to keep the bad thoughts out, passengers are reaching out to one another and forming online groups to talk about their shared ordeal and keep tabs on one another with WhatsApp and Facebook.

“We check on each other to see how we are each doing daily,” passenger Aun Na Tan told NPR.

“The platforms have helped tremendously,” said Kent Frasure of Oregon. “The WhatsApp group is filled with friends and is a very positive and supportive place.”

Meanwhile, Taiwanese passenger Sunny Chen is using his trade as a magician to help keep spirits high with a daily magic show streamed to the ship’s in-house TV network. He is part of an online group with the 20 other Taiwanese passengers aboard and has been thankful for the support.

“My original intention was to bring joy to all viewers,” he said in a video. “Now as a victim of the virus crisis, I am really moved as I feel the strength you are delivering to me. Passengers on board are also cheering each other on! We have to help each other to get through this challenge together!”

It’s not all internet and magic tricks, however, as more people fall ill to the virus and have to be removed from their rooms to be looked after with the other patients, with others left alone to wait and see if they get sick, too. Passengers are doing their best to check in on those who are without company, especially elderly individuals, who are more susceptible to viral infections.

Diamond Princess has already assured passengers that all fees they paid for the cruise will be refunded and that they will even help pay for travel expenses once the quarantine has been lifted on February 19. They have also promised the crew two whole months of paid time off following the quarantine for their hard work, which has included making constant deliveries of snacks and gifts to passengers while putting themselves at increased risk of contracting the virus.

“We are deeply grateful and incredibly proud of all of you,” said Group President of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia Jan Swartz in a message to the crew. “We understand that each of you are under great stress in this extraordinary situation, and we hope you are taking some time to speak with your family and friends – as well as reaching out to our Crew Assistance resources.”

Passengers have also expressed deep gratitude for the workers who are keeping them safe, fed, and entertained.

Hang in there, everybody!

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*First Published: February 12, 2020, 2:27 pm