US Evacuates Americans From Ship, But Some Aren't Happy

14 passengers on evacuation flights tested positive for coronavirus
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2020 3:27 AM CST
Updated Feb 17, 2020 6:50 AM CST
US Evacuates Americans From Ship, But Some Aren't Happy
In this image from a video taken on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, Paul Molesky, right, and Cheryl Molesky, who evacuated off the quarantined cruise ship the Diamond Princess, film a selfie video aboard a Kalitta Air plane bound for the US at Haneda airport in Tokyo.   (Cheryl and Paul Molesky via AP)

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US almost doubled overnight with the arrival of two planes carrying American citizens evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan. Officials say they were notified during the evacuation process that 14 of the passengers had tested positive for COVID-19, reports CNBC. The infected passengers, who were not showing symptoms, were allowed to board the evacuation flight but were isolated from others, officials say. The flights landed early Monday at Travis Air Force Base in California and Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Before their arrival, there were 15 confirmed cases in the US. Japanese authorities said Sunday that some 340 Americans from the Diamond Princess had been brought to Tokyo's Haneda airport on buses from Yokohama port, the AP reports.

At least 355 passengers from the ship, which has been in quarantine since Feb. 5, have now tested positive for the virus. The State Department agreed to repatriate the American passengers after a high-level push from Washington, the Wall Street Journal reports. But some passengers who had spent close to two weeks in quarantine on the ship are unhappy about the fact that they will have to spend another 14 days in quarantine after arriving in the US, reports CNN. "The US government ... wants to take us off without testing, fly us back to the US with a bunch of other untested people, and then stick us in 2 more weeks of quarantine?" tweeted passenger Matthew Smith, who decided to stay on the ship. "How does that make any sense at all?" (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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