Bay woman’s holiday horror on coronavirus cruise
LOCKED in a windowless cabin, unable to see the sun for two weeks as a deadly virus struck down hundreds around her.
This was the reality for Hervey Bay's Diana Headlam, one of the passengers on board the ill-fated Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Mrs Headlam has spoken exclusively to the Chronicle, revealing the ordeal she faced on board the ship, on which 705 cases of coronavirus were recorded.
Four ship passengers have been killed by the virus.
She was one of 24 Australians on the ship, along with her friend Alana Hoskinson from Launceston.
Mrs Headlam is now in Darwin, where she has spent a week in quarantine.
It will be another week before she is allowed to return home to Hervey Bay.
This comes after being confined to her cabin for two weeks on the ship.
The two women shared an internal cabin on the cruise, with no window.
"We didn't know if it was night or day," she said.
Mrs Headlam said the cruise staff went above and beyond, providing meals while every person on board hid behind masks, intended to fend off the disease.
While she is healthy, Ms Headlam said it had been scary knowing so many people were sick around them while they were confined in the cruise ship.
"It is a breeding ground for germs," she said.
Now staying in a cabin in a former workers' camp in Darwin, those in isolation have access to medication and cigarettes but no alcohol.
Mrs Headlam said about 163 people were currently confined and were monitored every day for temperatures and signs of the illness.
She said she was grateful to finally have fresh air and to walk around but still felt frustrated and anxious.
Mrs Headlam misses her husband Eric, their home and her pets.
"I haven't seen my husband since January 17," she said.