‘It was like a horror film’: inside the terror of the Covid cruise ship

Posted by on March 30, 2021 2:09 am
Categories: Global Stories

HBO documentary The Last Cruise revisits, through footage recorded by passengers and crew, the early-pandemic horror of the Diamond Princess cruise disaster

Before the shutdowns and eerie images of a barren Times Square, before the bungled US federal response to a virus that has since killed 549,000 Americans and nearly 2.8m people worldwide, before most people even had a date they could loosely observe as a pandemic anniversary this past month, there was the Diamond Princess.

The cruise ship departed from Yokohama, Japan on 20 January 2020 for a roundtrip tour of southeast Asia. On board was an 80-year-old passenger from Hong Kong who had recently visited Shenzen, Guangdong Province, China. At the time, there were only four confirmed cases of the then-unnamed Covid-19 virus outside mainland China; within two weeks, the ship would be stalled in the Japanese harbor under quarantine as the largest coronavirus outbreak outside Wuhan – 712 people, 14 of whom would die.

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