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Amid coronavirus quarantine, Santa Clarita couple blogs from cruise ship cabin

Japan China Outbreak
A Japanese Coast Guard patrol boat, left, is brought alongside the Diamond Princess last week to take passengers who test positive for coronavirus to hospitals near Tokyo.
(Hiroko Harima / Kyodo News)

Two Santa Clarita residents are among the 3,700 passengers and crew members quarantined on a cruise ship docked in Japan after an outbreak of the coronavirus.

Carl Goldman decided to give his wife, Jeri Seratti-Goldman, a combined surprise birthday and Christmas gift of a 16-day Southeast Asia cruise aboard the Diamond Princess. The trip was supposed to end last week. But after a passenger who departed the ship in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus, Japanese health officials placed the ship under a two-week quarantine. The quarantine is scheduled to end Feb. 19.

The couple own the Santa Clarita radio station KHTS and have been documenting their experiences in a diary on the station’s website.

“My wife smiled and told me, ‘Tiny house living is happening now,’ ” wrote Carl Goldman, recalling the moment when they learned about the two-week quarantine. “I did a quick calendar projection and told her, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day.’ ”

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So far, 70 people on board have been diagnosed with the virus, with six new cases being reported on Saturday. The Goldmans and other passengers on the ship, which is docked in Yokohama, Japan, have been telling stories on social media of kindnesses by crew members and also dwindling supplies and comforts.

On the third day of the quarantine, the couple saw dozens of ambulances and people in hazmat gear whisking away victims. They also had run out of bottled water and took to boiling available water before drinking it.

The next day, they realized they were running out of clean clothes and deodorant and the charge on their electric toothbrushes was running low. Later in the day, Princess Cruises restocked the ship at port with food and bottled water.

“My wife’s reaction to the toilet paper was like giving her a diamond ring,” Carl Goldman wrote.

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Saturday evening, Princess Cruises President Jan Swartz released a video statement, saying the company had received requests for about 2,000 medications from those on board.

“Our team has been sorting and distributing the medications as soon as we get them,” Swartz said.

The company has recently added satellite TV stations and more than 50 movies to the ship’s programming, which also includes fitness and exercise videos, it said in a statement.

In a video posted on Facebook Sunday morning in Japan — Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles — Jeri Seratti-Goldman said the couple had been tested for the virus three times a day and had not contracted it. Seratti-Goldman said they were able to leave their room Saturday for the first time in five days, and they went on the ship’s balcony and walked for an hour.

In their posts, the Goldmans also have been keeping the mood lighthearted, noting that the expansion of available movies has allowed them to move on from viewings of “Dumbo.”

“Will Carl and Jeri’s marriage make it through another eleven days quarantined inside their cabin?” they wrote in the diary on Friday. “Join us on Monday for updates on their adventures.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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