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WEKU Interview: Former EKU President Quarantined On Cruise Ship

WEKU Interview: Former EKU President Quarantined On Cruise Ship

A former Eastern Kentucky University president and his wife are stuck on a cruise ship headed for Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Their getaway aboard the Coral Princess was supposed to end more than a week ago.

Statement from Doug Whitlock, EKU President Emeritus:

Joanne and I have been on the Coral Princess since March 5, sailing from San Antonio, Chile.  We were originally scheduled to disembark at Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 19 and spend two days there sightseeing before flying home.  However, the only people allowed off the ship were those with confirmed flights for the 19th.  Some of those had flights cancelled and were returned to the ship.

Our first hints that things were not going well was when Argentina denied our scheduled stop at Puerto Madryn on March 15.  Then Uruguay prohibited a stop at Montevideo on the 17th.  We did refuel there and take on provisions after being turned away at Buenos Aires.

We sailed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and were denied disembarkation there.  We then headed toward Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

All this time we thought our ship was COVID-free.  But, it was apparently carried on board at one of our stops.

Monday, the 30th, the Captain announced that an unusual number of people were reporting to the medical center with flu-like symptoms.  Tuesday afternoon we were asked to self-isolate in our staterooms.  Early that evening we stopped at Bridgetown, Barbados, for fuel and provisions.  Specimens from those with symptoms were left to be tested.

Wednesday evening, April 1, the Captain announced that some passengers and crew members had tested positive for COVID-19.  He did not say how many.

We continue to Fort Lauderdale, where we hope to disembark on Saturday, April 4.  Details of that are still being worked out with local authorities.

Joanne and I are fine and we appreciate all the concern and love shown on social media, including a lot from the EKU Community we love so much.

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Published on April 02, 2020

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