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Crystal River couple among Americans quarantined on board the Diamond Princess in Japan

Doctors: more than 60 new cases onboard
Posted at 12:03 AM, Feb 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 12:05:53-05

JAPAN — A Crystal River couple is among the Americans under quarantine in Japan on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, while the Japanese government tests everyone on board for the novel coronavirus.

As of Monday morning, there are now more than sixty new cases of coronavirus on-board.

They say they’re feeling okay, and they’re monitoring their temperatures every day. So far they have not tested positive for the coronavirus, but they are required to stay in their cabin on the cruise ship.

“Frankly it’s really creepy, it’s like prison camp,” said Gay Courter, a Crystal River woman on board the Diamond Princess.

It’s a vacation turned nightmare for Phil and Gay Courter on board the ship.

“I don’t think we’re safe on this ship right now, and frankly, we’re more frightened today than we’ve ever been. We tried to be cheerful, we tried to make the best of a bad situation, but we’re beyond that. We need to be in American facilities,” said Gay.


Twelve Americans are among dozens on board the ship who are now confirmed to have the coronavirus.

“There is a concern the circulating air does transmit these viruses,” said Gay.

Neither Gay nor her husband Phil have tested positive for the virus, but each day, the Courters count the ambulances as officials in hazmat suits escort more and more people off who are testing positive.

“There are probably at least 10 ambulances lined up, and they are again getting the cover in position so that they can begin,” said Phil Courter, a Crystal River man on board the Diamond Princess.

They say to pass the time, they’re keeping in touch with family, but they’re also making preparations for the worst case scenarios.

“Last night Phil and I sat down and had a conversation we never wanted to have, what are our chances of of getting out of here alive? What about mortality? Phil’s 77, I am 75, we’re in a high-risk category, just by age,” said Gay.

The Courters do have a MedJet membership, a global air medical transport that they say is prepared to come get them, but they say the Japanese government will not let them go.

So instead, they sit in their cabin and count the days until they’re finally able to get back to America.

The Courters say the crew have been “terrific,” and they’re grateful for their service while on board the ship.

Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL) will visit the Community Health Center of Pinellas in Lealman to meet with leadership and staff to discuss the current flu season and preparations for any potential outbreak of the coronavirus in Pinellas County.

No cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Florida.