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U.S. begins evacuation of Americans from quarantined cruise ship in Japan

U.S. begins evacuation of Americans from the quarantined cruise ship.
U.S. begins evacuation of Americans from the quarantined cruise ship.

Two planes carrying Americans from the quarantined cruise ship, Diamond Princess have left Japan.

American passengers quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, begun evacuating the vessel on February 16 to be flown back to the United States. Two planes carrying Americans from the quarantined cruise ship, Diamond Princess have left Japan.

A letter sent by the U.S. embassy in Tokyo on February 16 said, the U.S. government recommended that the American citizens (around 400) on board the cruise ship, disembark and return to the States.

It said, the U.S. government had chartered flights that will depart from Yokohama, where the ship is docked, to the United States on Sunday. “These charter flights are the only opportunity for eligible passengers to fly to the United States until March 4, 2020, at the earliest,” the letter added. “This date is 14 days after the remaining passengers are expected to depart from the ship on Feb 19.”

Japanese officials said the quarantine aboard the ship is supposed to end on Feb 19.The embassy added that no symptomatic or infected passengers will be allowed to board the chartered flights.

Upon return to the United States, those who choose to take the chartered flights will be quarantined at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, or Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas, for 14 days, while those who choose to stay behind on the ship would face “potential constraints that would impact return to the United States in the next two weeks,” the embassy added.

On Sunday, Japan’s health ministry confirmed 70 additional coronavirus cases on board the ship, bringing the total number of those infected on the Diamond Princess to 355. A total of 1,219 passengers and crew members have been tested so far.

The ship, carrying some 3,700 passengers and crew, had been quarantined in Yokohama since February 3 after a passenger, who disembarked in Hong Kong, was later diagnosed with the virus.

The company that owns the cruise ship said on February 16, it was canceling all other voyages aboard Diamond Princess until April 20 due to “prolonged quarantine period and the anticipated time to prepare the ship to return to service.”

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