Cruising with COVID-19

John and Sandra Jarvis

Back from an interrupted cruise around New Zealand on the Ruby Princess, Kambah couple John and Sandra Jarvis were confident as their time in self-isolation progressed that they had escaped the clutches of COVID-19.

They were wrong.

Three days into their isolation at home in March, they developed what they thought were head colds.

“It seemed to us that as time passed it was increasingly less likely that we had contracted COVID-19,” John said.

“We received text messages from ACT Health each day asking if we were suffering from coughs, headache, fever, or sore throats, but we did not have any of those symptoms.”

The couple visited a Canberra testing centre at the request of ACT Health and by Friday John was diagnosed as positive to the virus.

The Atrium on the middle decks is the central focus for all activities aboard ship. Image supplied.

Although Sandra had tested negative, they both had to isolate for a further two weeks.

Sandra’s brother Eddy and his wife Margaret who were also on the Ruby Princess cruise, both tested positive.

A woman from Kambah whom they had befriended as part of their trivia team on the cruise contracted COVID-19 and died.

John recalls that on board the Ruby Princess, the crew tried to make life as enjoyable as possible for passengers and focused on ensuring ship cleanliness. 

“The encouragement of personal hygiene was enforced, and hand sanitiser stations were obvious in all public areas and their use was enforced on entry to all food service areas,” he said.

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After being cleared of coronavirus, John said it was a while before he regained his strength. 

“My doctor told me that I needed to be a bit careful over the following weeks as my immunity to other things might have been depressed,” he said.

COVID-19 has given John a new outlook on life. He thinks that during these times especially, we should reach out to our neighbours with a positive and caring message of hope.



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