TOKYO — Luke Hefner, a University of Memphis grad, is in a Japanese Medical center waiting for test results after he was quarantined for the coronavirus.
Hefner, a singer who was aboard the Diamond Princess ship, has been quarantined since Feb. 5.
After his results came back positive, crews rushed him off the ship and into a Japanese Medical center on Feb. 18.
He wasn’t even able to tell his castmates goodbye.
When Hefner first arrived at his new room, he had no wifi, no cell phone signal and no way to reach his friends and family back home.
After days of scrambling to borrow random people’s cell phones for mere minutes to send updates, a knock at the door came.
Princes Cruises came through with a large package that included pajamas, shampoo, and most importantly, a Japanese SIM card.
Since then, FOX13 has been in contact with Hefner.
"Princess [Cruises] literally saved the day,” Hefner said. “The virus wasn't even the worst part. It was not being able to tell the people I love that I was okay."
The hardest part for Hefner was not being able to contact his family.
Monday Hefner said he feels great, after he let out a hearty laugh, but he still can’t come home.
“Countries are asking for a negative throat swab test in addition to a negative nasal swab test," Hefner said.
The problem, Hefner said, no one in Japan can issue the nasal swab test. It’s now a waiting game.
“If you want to think about me, pray for me, constant prayers helping me get home and get back in the country,” Hefner said.
Hefner is from Newport, Tenn. and moved to Memphis in 2011. He graduated from U of M in 2015 with a degree in Musical Theater.
He said he feels healthy and is remaining in good spirits.
He has done four cruise contracts with Princess and said this hasn’t stopped him from wanting to do another.
Hefner is in Japan while he waits for new test results, which are due back Tuesday. He must be cleared by the U.S. Embassy to return home.
It is unclear when Hefner will be back stateside, but FOX13 will bring you updates every step of his journey back to the Bluff City.
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