Feb 18, 2020 - Health

Diamond Princess cruise ship evacuees go into U.S. quarantine

American evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on February 17, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas.
American evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, Texas, on Monday. Photo: Edward A. Ornelas/Getty Images

328 American evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have been put into quarantine at U.S. military bases after arriving from Japan, including 14 infected with the novel coronavirus, U.S. government health officials told reporters Monday.

Details: "A select number of high-risk patients were transported onward from both locations using those same aircraft to Omaha, Nebraska, for care at the University of Nebraska," Health and Human Services official Robert Kadlec said at the news briefing.

  • These included six passengers from the Travis Air Force Base in California, which landed just before midnight on Sunday, and seven from the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, which arrived early Monday, said William Walters, managing director of operational medicine at the State Department.

Infected passengers: Kadlec said the State Department was not aware that 14 of the evacuees had contracted COVID-19 as they left the cruise ship at Yokohama Port and that the patients had tested negative for the virus a few days earlier.

  • "If those results had come back four hours earlier before we’d started to disembark the ship and before these people were evacuees within an evacuation system, then it would’ve been a different discussion," Walters said.

The big picture: The outbreak on the ship began after a guest from Hong Kong sailed from Yokohama on Jan. 20 before disembarking back home on Jan. 25, Princess Cruises said. He showed no symptoms aboard the ship, but tested positive for coronavirus in a Hong Kong hospital six days later.

  • Over 40 Americans who had been on the Diamond Princess had previously been confirmed as infected and will remain in Japanese hospitals for treatment, NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "Face the Nation" Sunday.
  • Evacuees will undergo 14 days of quarantine in the U.S. 61 Americans remain aboard the ship, according to a note on the briefing transcript.

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