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P.E.I. couple, quarantined on cruise ship amid coronavirus spread, now on their way back to Canada

John and Helen McKenna in a 2019 Facebook photo. Submitted.
John and Helen McKenna in a 2019 Facebook photo. - Submitted

A P.E.I. couple is finally on their way back to Canada after an extended stay aboard their cruise ship docked near Tokyo, Japan.

Helen McKenna, originally of Summerside, and her husband, John, have spent the last 14 days quarantined in their cabin on the Diamond Princess while those on the ship cope with an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to an article published on Feb. 20 by the National Post, The Diamond Princess was docked in Yokohama, Japan, on Feb. 3, when some of the 3,700 passengers began to fall ill. As of Feb. 20, more than 620 passengers have gotten sick, including 47 Canadians. Two elderly passengers have died.

McKenna’s most recent Facebook post said the couple were on their way to the airport.

“John and I have our yellow bands,” McKenna smiled and waved, a bright bracelet visible on her wrist.

Posted by Helen McKenna on Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The McKennas have been sharing updates to family, friends and other Islanders via social media posts and videos.

The couple was still aboard the ship when she filmed their latest video. After passing their health checks, the pair were waiting to go to the airport.

“They are going to call our band number. When they do, we go down the stairs, we go through all the paperwork, go through all the safety and security, customs, all that kind of thing and then we get on the plane. So, we’re going to Canada," she said in the video.

McKenna and her husband were told passengers will be wearing a surgical mask throughout the 14-hour flight.

The flight will depart Haneda Airport and arrive in Trenton, Ont., where passengers will be screened again, just in case.

From the airport, they will be taken to a facility in Cornwall, Ont., where all of the Canadian passengers will spend another 14-day quarantine.

NOTE: A previous version of this article stated the couple was from Summerside, this was incorrect. The couple does not reside in Summerisde. This article has been updated to reflect this fact. 


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