Quarantined Fil-Canadian couple relying on faith vs. virus
Marichu and Ding Camales-Torrijos of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada are among the passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship who were quarantined following discovery of the coronavirus on board.
The couple, parishioners at St. Matthew Parish in Surrey, boarded the ship for a Southeast Asia cruise 26 days earlier. It was a gift to Ding ahead of his 65th birthday.
Now, as with other passengers, their meals are delivered by mask-wearing cruise staff, they listen to live updates from the captain about the spread of the virus, send online messages to family and friends, and pray.
“We start the day with prayer thanking God that we are symptom-free,” Marichu told The B.C. Catholic on February 13.
The ship had made stops in Vietnam, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong, when on the last day of the trip a case of the coronavirus, also called COVID-19, was discovered on board.
On February 13, 44 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on board, bringing the total number of infected individuals to 218 of the 3,700 cruise passengers and crew.
The ship was placed on quarantine, docked in Tokyo for the next two weeks. The passengers don’t expect to leave the ship until Feb. 19.
Marichu and Ding are confined to their 200-square-foot cabin during the quarantine. They must wear masks when their meals are delivered and during the single hour a day they are allowed to walk outside. The rest of the time they stay inside, praying, sending messages to other passengers through online chat groups, and trying to stay positive, according to the B.C. Catholic.
Marichu, a lector, extraordinary minister of holy Communion and member of Couples for Christ at St. Matthew, tries to minister to her fellow travelers by showing optimism.
When an elderly passenger was taken off the ship and sent to hospital for treatment, Marichu reached out to the man’s wife, who remained on board.