BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A couple from Massachusetts, who have been evacuated from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan amid a Coronavirus outbreak, say they are frustrated at a lack of communication from American health officials.
According to the Boston Globe, Richard Bowes and his wife Jackie Kineavy-Bowes of Westford, Mass. were some of the 300 Americans allowed off the Diamond Princess cruise ship this weekend.
The couple, both of whom are retired Keolis train conductors, have just wrapped up 14 days inside their cabin. However, they're not heading home just yet. According to the State Department, all American evacuees are being sent to military bases in either Texas in California for another two weeks in quarantine.
"I want to go home," Jackie Kineavy-Bowes said. "Of course we will do the 14 days to keep everyone else safe, but let us know what is going on... Just tell us."
More than 2,600 guests and 1,000 crew were ordered to remain in their cabins from Feb. 4, after a passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong days earlier was diagnosed with the Coronavirus.
In the days since, 355 people who were aboard that ship have been found to be infected by the virus, 44 of whom are Americans.
On Sunday, the first Americans deemed not symptomatic were allowed to evacuate to the U.S. where another two weeks of quarantine would begin. A spokesperson from the Department of State said Monday that after those 300 Americans were evacuated, officials got notice that at least 14 of them had tested positive for the Coronavirus. "These individuals were moved in the most expeditious and safe manner to a specialized containment area on the evacuation aircraft," the spokesperson said.
After 14 days inside a roughly 220-square foot cabin room, Jackie Kineavy-Bowes said she has been frustrated by the lack of communication so far.
She told the Globe that American health officials did not answer questions about whether her medication would be available once she got back to the U.S., and they did not make it clear which base they would be sent to ahead of time. It was only a short time before they left Tokyo on Sunday that the couple were notified they would be traveling to Travis Air Force Base in California.
The couple has also missed out on some new additions to their family while they've been stuck aboard the ship. "A couple of my neices and nephews just had babies, and they've been sending me pictures of them every day," Jackie Kineavy-Bowes said. "I just can't wait to get home and see them."
Despite the tight quarters and isolation, the ship's crew have been keeping passengers well fed, despite also being under quarantine and separated from their own families.
"They're good to us," Kineavy-Bowes said. "I really commend them, they're taking care of us well."
She also joked that another two weeks in quarantine at least gives her the time to catch up to her husband's card game winning streak.
"We've made a rummy 5,000 game, instead of 500. We're halfway there. He's winning, but now I have 14 more days to catch up."