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'It's been a struggle': B.C. woman relieved parents off virus-stricken ship in Japan, heading home

Noreen Torrijos says her parents, Maria and Ding (pictured), are among the Canadians being flown back after a two-week quarantine onboard a cruise ship in Japan. (Submitted: Noreen Torrijos)

A Surrey woman says she's happy her parents are finally off a quarantined ship in Japan and headed back to Canada

Maria and Ding Torrijos have been on a locked down cruise ship in Japan for two-weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak

The pair will now be flown to Ontario, where they will be quarantined for a second time before being allowed to go home

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – It’s been a long journey, to say the least, but a Surrey woman is relieved her parents are finally being let off a quarantined ship in Japan that was locked down after a COVID-19 outbreak on board.

It’s been two weeks since Noreen Torrijos’ parents were forced to extend their cruise trip due to a mandatory two-week quarantine in Yokohama. They’ve been screened and are now among the Canadians being flown back home.

“They’re really happy to be off the boat,” Torrijos told NEWS 1130. “I think the last couple of weeks, they’ve been working really hard to stay positive for everyone, but I know that that was always in the back of their minds, you know, what if they contract the disease or the virus, because there’s been reports every day about other people catching it or testing positive for it … So I think there was always that fear in the back of their minds, that they never actually told us about.”

Maria Torrijos is among the Canadians who were trapped on a cruise ship in Japan amid a COVID-19 outbreak. She and her husband are now being flown back to Canada. (Submitted: Noreen Torrijos)

Maria and Ding Torrijos, along with the other Canadians who are being brought back to Canada, will be flown to Ontario where they will then be transferred to a facility to begin yet another two-week quarantine.

An extended ‘vacation’

“They’re calling this another 14-day all-inclusive vacation — that’s kind of their outlook on it,” Torrijos said of her parents’ attitude, laughing.

The pair was confined to their room aboard the Diamond Princess. While they’ve shown their family members nothing but a positive attitude, their daughter knows it hasn’t been the vacation they had hoped for.

“I think mentally, they’re OK. They wouldn’t be human if they weren’t feeling a little desperate at times,” Torrijos said of her mom and dad. “I think it was just more exhausting for them to try and continue to be positive for everyone, because they’ve been posting updates on Facebook every day on their situation. So I think overall they’re OK, but, definitely, there were times where they were, themselves, getting desperate or starting to feel like something wasn’t being done when it was supposed to be done.”

Torrijos said her mother’s snapped photos and sent them to loved ones from the bus, showing everyone they’re finally getting out.

The federal government has said anyone found to have the COVID-19 coronavirus during screening will stay in Japan for treatment, while those who are healthy and make it home will be in for another quarantine once back on Canadian soil.

Canadians who were onboard a quarantined ship in Japan amid the COVID-19 outbreak were screened before boarding a chartered flight set to arrive in Canada from Japan on Friday. (Submitted: Maria Torrijos)


The plane from Japan is expected to touch down in Canada by Friday.

Struggling with uncertainty

For Torrijos and the rest of her family, the last couple of weeks have been a struggle.

“Hearing everyday that there are new cases and knowing my parents, even if they did, if there was some fear on their part, they wouldn’t communicate that to us,” she said. “So, I was always a little bit worried that, what if there was something that they weren’t telling us?”

She added her parents didn’t even mention they had been tested for COVID-19 a few days ago, and only found out after their results came back.

Her father, Ding, spent his birthday onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, so Torrijos said celebrations are planned for when he and his wife get back.

Maria and Ding Torrijos are among the Canadians being flown back after a two-week quarantine onboard a cruise ship in Japan. (Submitted: Noreen Torrijos)

But, that doesn’t mean celebrations were missed while on board the vessel.

“I was able to reach out to them on Twitter and (Princess Cruises) were able to send out a crew member with a piece of cake to sing happy birthday to him,” Torrijos said. “That was really great, really appreciated.”

The experience as a whole hasn’t even put her parents off to travel. Torrijos said her mom and dad are actually already thinking about where their next cruise will be to.

“I think, if anything, this experience with Princess has reinforced their love of cruising, and their next cruise is probably going to be on a Princess Cruise,” she said with a chuckle.

However, they may opt for the Carribean or Europe for their next trip, Torrijos added.