(WJHL) – After going through quarantine on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship the past few weeks, Dr. Arnold Hopland has been moved to a second location for yet another quarantine.
Dr. Hopland spoke with News Channel 11’s Josh Smith during the transition off the ship and into his new temporary home.
It’s been five decades since Dr. Hopland was a student on a college campus and now, the 75-year-old Elizabethton physician is one of the newest residents in the dorm at the National Tax College in Wako, Japan where Japanese health officials are performing a second two-week quarantine for those who remained on the ship.
The college is about an hour and a half northwest of Tokyo.
Hopland’s wife, Jeanie Hopland, remains a patient in a military hospital in Tokyo with others who tested positive for coronavirus.
The Hopland’s don’t know when they’ll be reunited.
After getting off the government-chartered bus on Saturday and stepping onto the campus where he’d stay for the next two weeks, Dr. Hopland said he was escorted to his room on the 7th floor of the dormitory. About 15 hours later, he hadn’t seen another person.
“They bring me food and then quickly leave,” he said. “Then they call my room to say breakfast is served,” he laughed.
Hopland describes the dorm room as small and comfortable with a triangular-shaped balcony that provides fresh air and a view of the city of Wako.
Dr. Hopland says he spent the first night in his newest quarantine shivering under a thin blanket. “If the room is heated, it’s set in the 50’s,” he said.
After his luggage erroneously was put on a U.S. evacuation plane and then left in a Texas parking lot, Dr. Hopland decided to wash his only outfit – the one he was wearing when he arrived – in the dorm room sink. “With no heat, it probably will take a few days to dry,” he said. “But that’s ok! Where do I need to go?”
The room has WiFi, a blessing he said. The food is unfamiliar but tasty. “I didn’t recognize a thing they brought me, but I ate it all,” he said. “I squirreled away some ham slices from my lunch tray on the cruise ship, so I’m set.”
News Channel 11’s Josh Smith asked Dr. Hopland what he would do to pass time, in which he replied that his only assignment is to take his own temperature regularly, write it on a piece of paper, and post it outside his room.
“So far, so good!” he said. No signs of coronavirus, though the CDC says he and all the other passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship were exposed to the virus during the course of a two week quarantine now considered to have been a failure.
His main focus is getting the word out about what he considers a growing global health emergency.
We will continue to follow this developing story.