Wuhan Coronavirus Outbreak: ‘Prisoner’ of virus on cruise asks for whisky


Fri, Feb 07, 2020 - Page 6

One banana a day, washed down with neat whisky. That is the humble request from a British passenger on a 2019 novel coronavirus-stricken cruise ship off Japan whose Facebook posts have made him an online star.

Resplendent in a magnificent holiday flowery shirt, David Abel has informed and entertained the world with a unique British humor as he delivers regular updates from the Diamond Princess, where thousands are being held in strict quarantine.

Ten additional people were reported sick with the disease on the Diamond Princess, Japanese health officials said yesterday, in addition to 10 others who tested positive on Wednesday

The latest infections included one Taiwanese, four Japanese, two Americans, two Canadians and one New Zealander.

“I know that room service are also getting these messages ... so can I just give you a message ... could someone on room service just bring me a fresh banana, every day? Just one banana, that’s all I’m asking,” he said in a post.

“If the captain is listening to this: You needn’t get involved on the banana — the room service will sort that, I’m sure — but it would be really good to have a glass of whisky to wash it down,” he wrote.

“I take Talisker, 10-year-old single malt, no ice, no water. It would be fantastic if that could be arranged,” he said.

Abel said he had been inundated with requests from the global media desperate for inside information from the cruise ship.

“I’m not bragging, it’s just the way it is,” he said.

He himself has proved a valuable source of information on life onboard the ship, where passengers are bracing for 14 days of quarantine after cases of the coronavirus were discovered.

“It’s a horrible situation for most passengers onboard, being stuck here, confined to the cabin. We are not allowed outside the room,” he said, sympathizing especially with those with inside cabins. “It must be almost unbearable for them.”

Abel said there was a dearth of information from the crew and captain — passengers had not yet been informed about the 10 new cases revealed yesterday — and he worried that this could extend the quarantine period.

“Hopefully, we’ll be home before Christmas,” he said.

In an earlier post, Abel said that the food had taken a decided turn for the worse since the quarantine measures were imposed — “we are definitely not on a luxury cruise” — and said the trip of a lifetime had turned into a “floating prison.”

However, his upbeat demeanor and positive messages won him a torrent of messages on Facebook.

“Come on folks, have a wonderful day wherever you are in the world. Keep smiling, make the best of every circumstance. Don’t live under the circumstances, live above them. Make the most of whatever life throws at you,” he said.

He could not resist some tongue-in-cheek advice for those trapped in inside cabins.

“No natural light. No fresh air. Thank goodness we do have a balcony and somebody commented this morning: They’ve learned a lesson from this, pay a bit extra to have a balcony. Oh wow, it’s so worth it,” he said.

Without fresh air, some people were developing cough from the air conditioning and then being terrified it was an early symptom of the coronavirus, he said.

Abel finished his latest message with a plea for information from the captain — and wedding stories from his latest followers to pass the time.

“When we get an announcement from the captain, which we must any time soon — I guess it will be when he personally delivers the glass of Talisker, 10-year-old without water, without ice, neat. I guess when he brings that to the cabin, I’ll have some really fresh news for you,” he wrote.

“Oh my word! Get those wedding stories coming in! Over and out,” he wrote.

Additional reporting by AP