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US News Coronavirus cruise ship passengers head to California military base for quarantine

04:21  17 february  2020
04:21  17 february  2020 Source:   latimes.com

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a group of people standing in front of a window: Passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship stand on their cabins' balconies at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, Japan, on February 13, 2020. © Alessandro Di Ciommo/NurPhoto/Zuma Press/TNS Passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship stand on their cabins' balconies at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, Japan, on February 13, 2020.

LOS ANGELES — American passengers evacuated from a cruise ship in which 355 people have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus were expected to be flown on a chartered flight to a California military base on Sunday.

The State Department chartered flights to transport U.S. citizens from the Diamond Princess, which has been docked off Yokohama since Feb. 3, to Travis Air Force Base in Solano County, officials announced Saturday. There are about 400 U.S. citizens aboard the ship, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, but it’s not yet known whether all of them have elected to return.

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Cruise ship guests received a letter on Sunday saying that while those who test negative for the virus will be allowed to leave on Wednesday, anyone who shared a room with a passenger who tested positive will face another two weeks onboard, starting from the date they were separated from their

The United States will evacuate American passengers under quarantine due to coronavirus on board Princess Cruises ' Diamond Princess in Japan, the U.S

The flights were expected to arrive in Japan on Sunday to pick up the passengers before departing for California. Some of them will stay at Travis Air Force Base, joining the 234 people already quarantined there after arriving on previous evacuation flights that landed Feb. 5 and Feb. 7, officials said. Other passengers will continue to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas, the CDC said in a news release.

Buses carrying passengers from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship leave a port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. A group of Americans are cutting short a 14-day quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, to be whisked back to America. But they will have to spend another quarantine period at a U.S. military facility to make sure they don't have the new virus that's been sweeping across Asia. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Buses carrying passengers from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship leave a port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. A group of Americans are cutting short a 14-day quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, to be whisked back to America. But they will have to spend another quarantine period at a U.S. military facility to make sure they don't have the new virus that's been sweeping across Asia. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) The Diamond Princess set sail Jan. 20 and was placed under quarantine by Japanese officials on Feb. 5 after a passenger who departed the cruise ship in Hong Kong tested positive for the coronavirus. That quarantine was set to continue through Feb. 19.

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The Diamond Princess cruise ship is currently under quarantine after more than 170 people have been confirmed to have the new coronavirus . One American couple who are confined to their cabin during the 14-day quarantine has taken to YouTube as a means of keeping their friends and family

a quarantined cruise ship off the coast of Japan amid concerns about spreading coronavirus the Americans back to the U.S. and quarantining them on military bases in California and Texas. Health officials originally sought to contain the spread to the ship by quarantining everyone on board.

But cruise ship evacuees who arrive at both of the U.S. military bases will be required to undergo a second 14-day quarantine overseen by the CDC, officials said. They will be screened for symptoms before leaving the ship, before boarding the flights and upon arrival in the U.S., and will be housed separately from the people already undergoing quarantine at the bases, officials said.

“We understand this is frustrating and an adjustment, but these measures are consistent with the careful policies we have instituted to limit the potential spread of the disease,” the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said in a letter sent to cruise ship passengers Saturday.

So far, no positive coronavirus results have been reported among those quarantined at Travis; one case has been reported among those quarantined at Lackland. The virus has killed more than 1,600 people and infected more than 68,000 since it was discovered in Wuhan, China, in late December.

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Buses carrying American passengers from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship leave a port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. A group of Americans are cutting short a 14-day quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, to be whisked back to America. But they will have to spend another quarantine period at a U.S. military facility to make sure they don't have the new virus that's been sweeping across Asia. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Buses carrying American passengers from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship leave a port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. A group of Americans are cutting short a 14-day quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, to be whisked back to America. But they will have to spend another quarantine period at a U.S. military facility to make sure they don't have the new virus that's been sweeping across Asia. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Travis is one of three military bases in California that the Defense Department has designated as a site to house returning coronavirus evacuees. The others are Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego County, where 232 people are currently quarantined, and March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County. About 195 people were permitted to leave from there on Tuesday after finishing a 14-day quarantine, but two other people who arrived later were expected to be kept there until at least Sunday.

The move to transport the American cruise ship passengers came as the number of coronavirus cases aboard the Diamond Princess continued to grow over the weekend, with 67 new diagnoses on Saturday, and the U.S. government issued a recommendation that all American passengers and crew members leave.

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“We are deeply grateful to the cruise line and government of Japan for working diligently to contain and control the spread of the illness,” the letter from the U.S. Embassy said. “However, to fulfill our government’s responsibilities to U.S. citizens under our rules and practices, as well as to reduce the burden on the Japanese healthcare system, the U.S. government recommends, out of an abundance of caution, that U.S. citizens disembark and return to the United States for further monitoring.”

Officials are seen before the evacuation of the U.S. passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where dozens of passengers tested positive for coronavirus, as they arrive at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, February 16, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha © Thomson Reuters Officials are seen before the evacuation of the U.S. passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where dozens of passengers tested positive for coronavirus, as they arrive at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, February 16, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha The 3,700 passengers and crew members aboard the Diamond Princess include two Santa Clarita residents, Carl Goldman and his wife, Jeri Seratti-Goldman. The couple own the radio station KHTS and have been documenting their experiences in a diary on the station’s website.

Many of the posts have been lighthearted, but on Saturday, Carl Goldman wrote that one of their traveling companions had been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus.

“It’s a sad day aboard the Diamond Princess,” he wrote. “No joking today.”

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The woman, Jerri Jorgenson, and her husband, Mark, were confined to the cabin adjoining the Goldmans’, and the two couples had unlocked a partition separating their balconies so they could move freely back and forth between the units during the quarantine, Carl Goldman wrote.

“Last night, after watching a movie, all four of us took our temperatures. Jerri had a fever,” he wrote. “In the morning, she still had a fever. As Mark and Jerri were getting ready to call the ship’s hospital, Japanese health officials knocked on their door. They were dressed in hazmat suits.”

Buses believed to carry the U.S. passengers of the cruise ship Diamond Princess, where dozens of passengers were tested positive for coronavirus, leave the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, February 17, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha © Thomson Reuters Buses believed to carry the U.S. passengers of the cruise ship Diamond Princess, where dozens of passengers were tested positive for coronavirus, leave the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, February 17, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

A bus believed to carry the U.S. passengers of the cruise ship Diamond Princess, where dozens of passengers were tested positive for coronavirus, leaves the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, February 17, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha © Thomson Reuters A bus believed to carry the U.S. passengers of the cruise ship Diamond Princess, where dozens of passengers were tested positive for coronavirus, leaves the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, February 17, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha He said that they handed Mark Jorgenson a letter saying that his wife had tested positive for the virus and said she had one hour to pack a small bag. She was taken by ambulance to a hospital about four hours away in Fukushima, where her husband was not permitted to join her, Goldman wrote.

Goldman, his wife and Mark Jorgenson plan to fly back to the U.S. on one of the evacuation flights and undergo a second quarantine at one of the military bases, Goldman wrote.

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“We are unclear what tomorrow will bring,” he wrote. “We are shaken and devastated that we have been removed from our friend.”

Health officials say that the COVID-19 virus continues to pose a low risk to the general American public. Just 15 cases have been diagnosed in the U.S.: eight in California, two in Illinois, and one each in Arizona, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. All of the patients had either recently traveled to mainland China or, in two cases, had close contact with someone who did. At least three of the cases were among people who had recently arrived on an evacuation flight from Wuhan.

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