A British couple in late eighties are “bored but well” as a cruise liner remains stranded in a Brazilian port. Even the rubbish has to stay on board. A case of one Corona Virus patient wrecking a dream holiday for hundreds.

16 March 2020 By Paul Martin

By Paul Martin.

Two British passengers in their late 80s have told Correspondent.world they are “bored but well” while stranded on a cruise ship. It’s being held up in a Brazilian harbour because of one case of Corona Virus.

Their son has urged that they and all passengers be removed from the ship as the two previous ships held for corona virus led to a huge spread of the virus to other passengers, and his parents, because of their ages, are “very vulnerable”.  

Diplomats from Britain, the US and other countries are negotiating with the Brazilian authorities to try to get the passengers off the ship in the country’s most easterly port of Recipe.  There are over 300 passengers, including 108 Britons, on board the Silver Shadow.

The Silversea Silver Shadow has remained docked in the port of Recife, Brazil since Thursday, March 12, 2020. The result is an empty, quarantined cruise deck. Jim Hasten

The cruise ship carrying 609 people has been isolated in Brazil after a 78-year-old Canadian passenger was evacuated with a cough and fever. 

Diplomats from Britain, the US and other countries are negotiating with the Brazilian authorities to try to get the passengers off the ship.  The British Foreign Office says it is “working relentlessly” to find a solution.

Correspondent.world understands the Brazilians have agreed in principle to take the passengers off the ship –  but there is a dispute over whether the British and American passengers can be flown home, or must be quarantined  onshore in Brazil.

The cruise ship carrying 609 passengers and staff was isolated after a 78-year-old Canadian passenger was evacuated with a cough and fever. 

He was rushed off the ship on Thursday after he showed symptoms consistent with corona virus. Tests showed later he does have the virus.

The Brazilian authorities ordered those passengers who had gone ashore to return immediately to the ship and to stay inside their cabins.

They have refused to allow the crew even to unload the rubbish bins.

Two British passengers, Gwen and Alan Cohen, aged 86 and 89, from north London, have told Correspondent.world:

“We get a tray of food brought to the cabin but left outside,” the couple said in a phonecall from their cabin.  “Then the steward disappears and we can open the door to bring it inside.

“The doctor comes three times a day to take our temperature.  But he doesn’t come inside the cabin.  “Instead he holds his thermometer thing at arms length and clicks it.  He’s dressed in protective clothing.”

“We wash our hands every hour – at least that’s what our son has told us to do, and especially after touching the tray.

”We are bored but well.  It’s this interminable waiting that’s getting us down.” 

The couple flew to Rio de Janeiro to join the cruise on March 7. It was supposed also to go to the Caribbean.  It was due to reach Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on the 27th, March, and they would have flown home to the UK soon afterwards.

“They’ve been told they will have to stay confined for 14 days after the last case of corona virus,” their son Malcolm Cohen, also from London,  told Correspondent.world.

He wrote to the couple’s local MP Mike Freer:

“[My parents are] passengers on the Silver Shadow cruise ship which is quarantined at the Port of Recife in Brazil. One passenger has tested positive for Covid-19 and another is being tested. They have been removed from the ship and are in hospital. My parents are 89 and 86 years age and are, therefore, very vulnerable to serious complications. There are, we understand, 108 UK Nationals on this ship (one third of all passengers).

“The experience of the Diamond Princess in Yokohama and the Grand Princess in San Francisco/Oakland has shown that the best outcome relies on very early evacuation followed by isolation in the home country. There was much delay in the Diamond Princess which resulted in serious spread of the infection. 

“Please can you urgently contact the FCO and insist that they take immediate action to work with the Brazilian Authorities and the Cruise Line (Silver Seas) and arrange a charter flight to evacuate the UK Nationals at the very earliest opportunity and, if required, quarantine them here in the UK.”

 The cruise, lasting 21 days, was scheduled to stop in ports along the South American coast and the Caribbean before heading to the Caribbean and Fort Lauderdale.

Theresa Villiers MP has also raised the matter in the British House of Commons.

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