Local Woman Concerned Over Parents' Health While They Are Quarantined On Cruise Ship

Tuesday, February 11th 2020, 12:39 pm
By: Amber Gerard

More than 3,700 passengers remain quarantined on a cruise ship near the Japanese coast.

Among them are the parents of Oklahoma attorney Amy Howe.

"They wake up, the food delivery service brings breakfast. They read and play games on their iPad," Howe said.

Timothy Howe, 72, and his wife, Gail, set sail aboard the Diamond Princess for a two week back-to-back cruise in early January. As far as Amy Howe knew, they were having a great time. That was until she read her father’s email. 

In the email, Howe's father said as man came down with the virus in Hong Kong and they were holding the passengers on the ship to see if anyone was infected with it.

After that, she said things changed quickly.  

“The Japanese Ministry started testing people, going room-to-room and taking temperatures, seeing what symptoms people had,” she said.

When the results came back, at least 20 more people had been infected.

"The numbers kept rising,” she said. “They dipped for two days and then the numbers rose to 65 or 66 people in addition to the ones that were already infected, making that a total of 135.”

Those infected were removed, leaving thousands like the Howes behind to wait.

“There is free Internet on the ship. We use Facebook Messenger to chat and video chat. But with 3,700 people on board that’s a lot of people using the Internet,” she continued.

Amy Howe said she if grateful that Princess Cruises has been doing such a great job at taking care of her father and stepmother in terms of meeting their basic needs. However, that being said there is one need that hasn’t yet been met.

"The medicine. That is obviously still a big issue,” said Howe.

Timothy Howe has a heart condition that requires him to take daily medication. Not foreseeing the outbreak, he only brought enough for four weeks.   

"Management told anyone, if they were going to need refills, to submit information. The name of the mediation. The quantity,” she said.

That information, she explained would be sent to the U.S. Embassy, and then using a triage type of system they would determine priority levels.

“The last I checked, my dad was moved to a higher level priority,” she said.

Their request was made Feb. 5, the same time he ran out of medication.

“Right now, we’re just waiting. The last time I spoke to him, which was this morning, nothing had been delivered yet,” she said.

Officials have stated that they expect the quarantine to be lifted Feb. 19. By that time, the Howes will have been on board the Diamond Princess for two months.

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