Atlanta couple tests positive for coronavirus on cruise ship in Japan, son says

Atlanta couple tests positive for coronavirus on cruise ship in Japan, son says

ATLANTA — An Atlanta couple is being treated after testing positive for coronavirus while on a cruise ship in Japan.

Channel 2 Action News talked with the son of Clyde and Renee Smith, who said his parents were evacuated from the Princess Cruises to a Tokyo hospital for treatment.

Channel 2’s Richard Elliot went to Macon, where the couple’s son, David Smith, works. He says they’re symptom-free and in good shape. He said his adult nephews, the Smith’s grandchildren,' are also on the cruise ship but they have tested negative for coronavirus.

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We also got an update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about its response to this health crisis.

Clyde and Renee Smith were all smiles as they sat in their Tokyo hospital room recovering from the coronavirus.

Their son David Smith gave us the photo.

They were on a cruise with their adult grandchildren when they got word one of the passengers came down with the illness.

Authorities immediately quarantined the Diamond Princess cruise ship and they tested every passenger.

“My parents originally tested negative, and they were quarantined, everybody. And they came back a couple of days later and knocked on the door and said, ‘Y’all are positive, come with us,’” David Smith said.

The Smiths live in Decatur.

Renee was a former Georgia mother of the year.

Clyde worked for the state labor department.

Barely two miles from their house, the CDC is working on its response to the outbreak.

We got this update from their afternoon teleconference:

“We can and should be prepared for this new virus to gain a foothold in the U.S. The goal of the measures we have taken to date are to slow the introduction and impact of this disease in the united states, but at some point, we are likely to see communities spread in the u-s or other countries and this will trigger a change in our response strategy,” Nancy Messonnier said.

David Smith says no one seems to know when his parents can come home.

“I asked them that last night. I’d like to know myself. They have no idea. They’re asking, but the hospital has not given them an answer because i guess maybe it’s so new, they don’t even know at this point,” David Smith said.

Both David Smith and his brother, a Boston doctor, were ready to fly over, but were told there wasn’t much they could do and that they probably could not even see them.

Officials with Princess Cruises said at least 20 people have tested positive for the coronavirus on the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship carrying 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crewmembers. The ship is expected to remain under quarantine in Yokohama until at least Feb. 18, according to officials.

On Tuesday, health officials are monitoring nearly 200 Georgia residents who have recently traveled to China, where the deadly new coronavirus has sickened more than 40,000 people.

All have been under self-quarantine, which means staying at home for 14 days, the illness’ incubation period. No one has shown symptoms of coronavirus.

Clyde and Renee Smith
Clyde and Renee Smith (David Smith)