Queensland couple finally reunited after month-long ordeal
PALM COVE couple Paul and Jacqueline Fidrmuc have finally returned home after a month-long quarantine odyssey that had them separated and whisked to opposite sides of the Pacific.
The pair were reunited in Cairns on Wednesday when Mr Fidrmuc returned to flew direct from Japan, where he had been in isolation after testing positive to coronavirus.
"It is really good to be home," Mr Fidrmuc said.
"It has been a long journey; I am happy to be back and to see Jacqui.
"It has been an emotional time."
The couple were passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined off Japan last month.
The ship docked at the Port of Yokohama with about 3700 international passengers.
All passengers were locked down for a 14-day quarantine period, which started February 5, after 10 passengers initially tested positive to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Despite spending one week quarantined in their suite, the couple received the frightening news that Mr Fidrmuc had tested positive.
The couple were separated as Mr Fidrmuc was whisked to a Japanese hospital.
Despite carrying the virus, Mr Fidrmuc said he remained symptom-free except for losing his sense of smell, which has since returned.
Mrs Fidrmuc was eventually evacuated to Darwin with other Australian passengers including Ian and Carolyn Gregg, of Kewarra Beach.
Meanwhile Mr Fidrmuc spent four more weeks in a hospital room without seeing another passenger from the ship.
"At least there were mountains all around," Mr Fidrmuc said.
"Once I was in the room I wasn't allowed out - the days actually passed pretty quickly."
While he counted the hours from his Japanese hospital room, Mrs Fidrmuc waited out two weeks in a quarantine camp in the Northern Territory.
"The camp was clean, there was an ensuite and meals were provided," Mr Fidrmuc said.
Now given a clean bill of health that confirms they are clear of the virus and no threat to anyone, the couple are making up lost time with their family.
"The relief is huge," Mr Fidrmuc said.
"We missed our kids' birthday when we were away which was a shame."
The couple are eyeing off their next cruise - maybe close to home this time.
"Princess Cruises were absolutely fantastic," he said.
"They did everything they could under the Japanese health authorities."