Marichu Camales-Torrijos posted this picture inside the bus carrying Canadians to the airport to fly back to Canada today. The chartered flight is expected to arrive in Trenton, Ontario early tomorrow (Friday). (Photo: Marichu Camales-Torrijos Facebook)

Canadians are finally flying home

4th Update:February 20, 2020, 7:30 P.M.

3rd Update: February 20, 2020, 3:30 P.M.

2nd Update:6:30 PM, February 15, 2020

Surrey, B. C.

Surrey couple Ding and Marichu Torrijos are among 209 Canadians aboard the Diamond Princess who are on their way to Canada.There were 256 Canadians on the Diamond Princess, which has been docked in Yokohama since early February. Of those, 47 have tested positive for the virus, Global Affairs Canada said. Those passengers are not among those returning to Canada on the repatriation flight.

They will arrive at the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, Ontario early Friday morning and will be transported to the NAV Canada Training Institute in Cornwall, Ontario for another 14-day quarantine period.

The couple has been in high spirits after finally being able to come home. Marichu has been updating friends of their situation through her Facebook page.

Canadians are loaded to the chartered flight for Canada. (Photo:CBC)

Canadian Public Health officials in Japan to assess passengers situation

Marichu Torrijos sent this update this afternoon.

From:[email protected]” <[email protected]>
Date: February 15, 2020 at 8:47:17 PM GMT+9
To:[email protected]” <[email protected]>
Subject: Message to Canadian Passengers
Dear passengers and crew aboard the Diamond Princess,

Your health and safety is our absolute priority.

You will likely have seen today that the US Government is making arrangements to bring American citizens aboard the Diamond Princess to the US on a voluntary basis in the coming days.

The Government of Canada has deployed three officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada to Japan. They are urgently assessing the situation aboard the ship.

Officials from Global Affairs Canada are engaging with Japanese authorities to determine next steps.

We are aware that this is a stressful period for you and we want to assure you that your safe return is our paramount objective. If you have any immediate medical concerns, please continue to consult ship personnel and medical authorities on board.

We will be contacting you again soon with more information.

Husband celebrates 65th birthday today on quarantined ship

Teodoro ‘Ted’ Alcuitas

For Marichu and Ding Torrijos, Valentine’s Day begins with a prayer of gratitude as they have been doing since their ship, Diamond Princess was quarantined on Feb. 4 in Yokohama, Japan.

On Valentine’s Day, they also have something special to be thankful for besides “feeling good and symptom free.” Today, Ding turns 65 and their cruise was supposed to be an advanced birthday celebration.

“I’ve been counting our quarantine days and I believe  this is our 10th day. Everyday is another day,” she says in an email to Philippine Canadian news.Com (PCN.Com) today. Hopefully, they’ll be allowed to leave on February 19.

She says they are allowed an almost daily excursion outside their cabin “to enjoy the outdoor air and sceneries.”

Marichu and Ding at a stop on their cruise before the quarantine. (The B.C. Catholic)

They are among 3, 700 people with 251 Canadians on board the ship which left Yokohama on Jan. 20 before making stops in Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Okinawa, Japan.

Devout Catholics, Marichu is a lector and extraordinary minister at St. Matthew’s in Surrey and reaching out to fellow passengers since there is no Catholic priest on board.

“Without faith, I don’t think I would last this long,” she told  The B.C. Catholic in an interview.

At least 218 passengers and crew on the ship — which was originally carrying more than 3,700 people —  have been diagnosed with the virus and taken ashore for medical care. This is by far the largest number of COVID-19 infections outside mainland China.

On Valentine’s Day aboard the ship, passengers were gifted roses, chocolates, and (courtesy of the Japanese Health Ministry) new iPhones featuring a special app for medical support. More than 2,000 extra prescription medications have also been brought on board, crew members said. Dinner on Friday was a choice between shrimp “Valentine,” coq au vin, or a potato tart, according to the Business Insider.

According to the Insider, it is not business as usual on the ship and things has changed significantly. Passengers have been making their own beds, scrubbing their own toilets, receiving room-service-only meals from perpetually gloved and masked crew members, and counting down the days until February 19, when their quarantine is scheduled to end.

  • Passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship have been under quarantine since February 4. They get to go out and stroll around outside for only about an hour, if that, and they are cleaning their own rooms.
  • On Valentine’s Day, there was dancing below deck in the kitchen, and all rooms were given an iPhone for medical support from the Japanese government.
  • The first group of healthy people was also allowed to leave the ship. Eleven passengers older than 80 have opted to serve the rest of their quarantine on dry land, but approximately 3,500 others are still on board.

Coronavirus: Surrey couple among those in quarantined ship in Japan