Welsh couple among 142 Britons on coronavirus plague ship off US coast reveal only went on cruise to celebrate their 30th anniversary because it felt ‘a bit safer’ than visiting East Asia
- Patrick and Kim Maguire were meant to visit Cambodia, Singapore and Thailand
- The couple from Gwent chose US instead as they thought it would be ‘a bit safer’
- Ship’s 3,500 passengers now under quarantine after 21 tested positive for virus
A Welsh couple stranded on a coronavirus-hit cruise ship off the coast of California were only on the stricken vessel because their holiday to Asia was cancelled due to the killer bug.
Patrick and Kim Maguire were meant to visit Cambodia, Singapore and Thailand to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary but the killer bug – that originated in Wuhan, China, and rapidly spread through Asia – forced them to change their destination.
They instead chose the US as they thought it would be ‘a bit safer’ and went aboard Grand Princess for a two-week tour from San Francisco to Hawaii.
Welsh couple Patrick and Kim Maguire who are stranded on a coronavirus-hit cruise ship off the coast of California were only on the stricken vessel because their holiday to Asia was cancelled due to the killer bug
But the ship’s 3,500 passengers are now under quarantine after 21 people tested positive for the virus – which has infected 100,000 people world wide and killed more than 3,000.
The couple from Gwent, Wales, have been confined to their cabins for more than two days as officials in California are yet to decide where to dock the ship.
Patrick, 56, described how they are coping being confined to a cabin, uncertainty over what happens next and that the trip was part of their wedding anniversary celebrations.
Mr Maguire said: ‘It’s a little frustrating because there’s no plan. That’s no fault of Princess Cruises, the captain and crew have been amazing.
‘They are doing the best they can. But there is a little bit of cabin fever at the moment.’
He said that passengers have been told they will all need to be tested for the virus, but that he and his wife feel ‘fine and well’.
Passengers were told to return to their cabins on Thursday lunchtime where they’ve remained since.
Mr and Mrs Maguire were meant to visit Cambodia, Singapore and Thailand to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary but the killer bug – that originated in Wuhan, China, and rapidly spread through Asia – forced them to change their destination
Mr Maguire said breakfast has been left outside in the morning, they can call a number for hot drinks and they have a few limited choices for dinner.
Updates are provided over a loud speaker around three or four times a day, Mr Maguire explained.
He added: ‘We don’t have a clue what’s going to happen. They’ve put us in a holding pattern around 50 miles out, we can’t see land.
‘Because we are confined to our cabins we only have a little bit of contact.’
The couple have set up a group chat on WhatsApp with a couple from Somerset and another couple from America onboard, who they have been speaking with.
Mr and Mrs Maguire were able to opt for either a refund or an alternative trip when their initial holiday was cancelled.
The ship’s 3,500 passengers are now under quarantine after 21 people tested positive for the virus – which has infected 100,000 people world wide and killed more than 3,000
Mr Maguire said: ‘We had already made arrangements for time off work so we booked another holiday.
‘We thought we’d book somewhere a bit safer so we thought the USA.
‘When we booked it I don’t think were any cases in the US then. We thought we’d be alright on the other side of the world.
‘This trip is part and parcel of our 30th wedding anniversary celebrations.’
The couple boarded the ship in San Fransisco on February 21.
There is evidence the ship now idling off San Francisco was the breeding ground for a deadly cluster of almost 20 cases during an earlier voyage.
The Grand Princess cruise ship passes the Golden Gate Bridge as it arrives from Hawaii in San Francisco. Twenty-one people on board have tested positive for the coronavirus
A California National Guard helicopter brought coronavirus tests to the ship Thursday
Nineteen of the 21 diagnosed on board the ship are crew members.
US President Donald Trump appeared to be in favour of leaving the Grand Princess’s passengers where they are – apparently to avoid increasing the nation’s infection total.
But US Vice-President Mike Pence said on Friday that the Grand Princess, with more than 3,500 people on board, including 142 Britons, had been directed to a non-commercial port for testing.
In an update on its website on Saturday, Princess Cruises, owners of the ship, said it was 50 miles off the coast of San Francisco awaiting instructions on where to proceed.
Additional personal protection equipment, including gloves and face masks, have been delivered via US coast guard helicopter on Friday night.
The Grand Princess is owned by Princess Cruises, and a spokesman said on Friday evening: ‘We are awaiting official specific plans for future positioning of the ship from relevant authorities.
‘Princess Cruises will continue to closely follow the guidance of the CDC and other federal and state government authorities.’
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