U.S. to evacuate Americans quarantined on cruise ship due to coronavirus

Ruben Fields
February 16, 2020

However, on February 2, an 80-year-old passenger, who had disembarked in Hong Kong, was confirmed to have the coronavirus, and the cruise liner returned to Yokohama one day ahead of schedule. The number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus which is also known as COVID-19 is now at 285 including passengers and crew members.

Once on the ground, passengers are required to undergo to be quarantined for 14 days, officials said.

Cambodia said earlier that all the 1,455 passengers had tested negative for the virus.

In China, the total number of people infected by the virus rose to more than 66,000 on Saturday, with the number of deaths passing 1500.

The US is sending an aircraft to Japan to bring back US passengers on the Diamond Princess, where the most coronavirus infections outside China have occurred.

A State Department official did not directly comment on the report, only saying, "The U.S. Embassy (in Tokyo) remains in close contact with all relevant authorities to ensure U.S. citizens aboard the ship, and their families, are fully informed as the situation develops". They added 380 Americans are on-board.

It emerged that an 80-year-old Chinese man who died from the virus in France - the first death in Europe - had flagged himself up to doctors soon after arriving in France on Jan 16, but they initially failed to recognise his symptoms as the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The aircraft will land in the United States at Travis Air Force Base in California, with some passengers continuing onward to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

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The new reported cases came after the United States announced plans to evacuate Americans held in quarantine on the Diamond Princess.

The US embassy in Tokyo sent a message telling their citizens on board that a chartered plane would arrive this evening in Japan, and recommended they disembarked "out of an abundance of caution" and return home.

Medical workers wearing protective suits leave after tending to passengers on the quarantined Diamond Princess.

Smith complained about having to begin a new 14-day quarantine even though he was due to get off the ship next week. Officials announced the aircraft are expected to arrive in Japan on the evening of February 16.

The letter to Americans on the Diamond Princess warns, "Should you choose not to return on this charter flight, you will be unable to return to the United States for a period of time".

In a news release, federal officials say this decision has been made because of the extraordinary circumstances faced by passengers and to lighten the burden on the Japanese health-care system.

The head of a hospital in Wuhan, a city under virtual lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus, told reporters on Thursday that plasma infusions from recovered patients had shown some encouraging preliminary results.

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