Coronavirus: Bridgend family stranded on Grand Princess

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Media caption,

Coronavirus: "We didn't see daylight for days" on ship

A woman whose family are stuck on a coronavirus-hit cruise ship said she was angry at the lack of information.

Beverley Davies, 63, her husband Geoffrey Davies, 64, and son Stephen Evans, 35, are among 140 Britons on the Grand Princess held off San Francisco after 21 people tested positive.

The family, from Bridgend, have been confined to a cabin since Friday.

A Princess Cruises spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday evening the disembarkation of passengers had begun.

US authorities are expected to fly home Britons on board the cruise ship later, according to the Foreign Office.

Nineteen crew members and two passengers on the cruise liner have tested positive for Covid-19.

Image source, Family photo
Image caption,
Beverley Davies (pouring champagne) has been confined to her cabin with her husband Geoffrey (second left) and son Stephen Evans (right) since Friday

Another Welsh passenger, Howard Lewis, who went on the cruise with his wife Anne to celebrate his 65th birthday, said they have only been outside their windowless cabin for one hour since Thursday.

"This has been a nightmare," said Mr Lewis, from Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taff.

"We get two announcements on the tannoy everyday with some sort of update. But there is hardly any information for anyone from the UK. They definitely don't have any testing kits on board.

"We are desperate to get tested for reassurance, but they haven't tested anyone since last Thursday."

The vessel, which is carrying about 3,500 people from 54 countries, was due to dock in Oakland on Monday after five days stuck offshore.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
The Grand Princess has 21 cases of coronavirus on board

A Princess Cruises spokesperson said: "The safety, health and well-being of our guests and crew is always our top priority, and we continue to make every effort to ensure they are safe and comfortable while they remain onboard.

"Princess Cruises are following guidance from the US Centers of Disease Control (CDC), California Department of Public Health and other authorities.

"The disembarkation of guests onboard Grand Princess has begun and will commence in order of priority, as defined and directed by both state and local authorities."

The ship came to the attention of authorities when a previous passenger died last week after being stricken by the virus.

The 71-year-old, who had an underlying health condition, had been on a round trip from San Francisco to Mexico in February.

Mrs Davies's daughter Anneliese Rees, 32, said her mother called her on Wednesday to say the ship would not be docking in Mexico as planned.

"She said it was something to do with the coronavirus but I don't think she realised it was to do with the ship - she thought the problem was the other end [in Mexico]," she said.

"Alarm bells rung - my husband Googled it and found someone had left the ship and passed away."

Mrs Rees said her mother told her life had "carried on as normal for about 24 hours" and they attended a quiz and went to the liner's restaurants before all passengers were confined to their cabins.

She said she had been getting most of her information from the news and passing it on to her mother who had been left "in the dark" about what was going on.

She said: "She's saying they're OK and feel fine and are going with the flow", adding they had a balcony room so were able to have a view and get fresh air: "Not everyone has that option. Many people have inside cabins."

Mrs Rees said more information was needed from the UK government: "I'm stressed out, very stressed out as time is going on and nothing is being done.

"I want just a bit of contact from the government to say they were bringing British citizens home.

"They're all just stuck in cabins, they can't be cleaned, understandably and they're living in germs."