Updated 10 hours ago - Health

Cruise ship evacuations: More Americans test positive for coronavirus

A bus carrying American citizens from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship arrives at the U.S. government-chartered aircraft that is taking them back to the United States while authorities wear protective suits look on at Haneda airport in Tokyo on Monday. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Another 14 passengers tested positive for the novel coronavirus during their evacuation from the Diamond Princess cruise ship before being flown in a "specialist containment" area of the plane to the United States, per a U.S. government statement early Monday.

Details: Over 40 Americans who had been on the ship had previously been confirmed as infected and will remain in Japanese hospitals for treatment, NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "Face the Nation" Sunday. The rest were evacuated, and these latest cases were among them. All evacuees will undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival Monday morning.

What they're saying: "During the evacuation process, after passengers had disembarked the ship and initiated transport to the airport, U.S. officials received notice that 14 passengers, who had been tested 2-3 days earlier, had tested positive for COVID-19," the joint statement by the U.S. Departments of State, and Health and Human Services said. 

"After consultation with HHS officials, including experts from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the State Department made the decision to allow the 14 individuals, who were in isolation, separated from other passengers, and continued to be asymptomatic, to remain on the aircraft to complete the evacuation process. 
During the flights, these individuals will continue to be isolated from the other passengers. ... All passengers are being closely monitored by medical professionals throughout the flight, and any who become symptomatic will be moved to the specialized containment area, where they will be treated." 
— U.S. government statement

The state of play: Americans flown from the ship on the State Department-chartered flight will undergo 14-day federal quarantines at the Travis Air Force Base in California or the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas, per a CDC statement.

  • Passengers repatriated to Canada will also undergo a 14-day period of quarantine in the country, the Canadian government said in a statement.

By the numbers: 454 of the now-1,723 people on the Diamond Princess have tested positive for the virus, the Japanese health ministry said in a statement Monday.

Background: The Japanese government announced Thursday that certain groups of passengers aboard the ship could "voluntarily disembark" and be quarantined in government facilities. Passengers older than 80 with pre-existing health conditions have priority to exit the vessel.

  • Princess Cruises had said in a previous statement that nine of the first 10 patients hospitalized from the ship were guests — one from the U.S., two Australians, three Japanese people and three from Hong Kong. A Filipino crew member also tested positive.
  • The nationalities of the latest cases have yet to be released, but half of those on board were visitors from Japan, per Princess Cruises. The ship arrived at Yokohama Port on Feb. 3. Most have already been hospitalised.
  • A quarantine officer is among those infected, the ministry said.

The big picture: 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.

  • Malaysia has now barred all cruise ships from its ports and the remaining passengers aboard the Westerdam cruise ship, where an American woman tested positive for coronavirus, are not welcome in the country, officials said Monday.
  • Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cruise lines say they will prohibit all travelers with passports from Hong Kong, China or Macao from boarding their ships at least through February, per the the Los Angeles Times.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details throughout.

Go deeper

Westerdam cruise ship coronavirus case raises fresh concerns

The Westerdam cruise ship docked in Sihanoukville, Cambodia on Friday. Photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Several countries were trying on Monday to locate hundreds of passengers who departed the Westerdam cruise ship when it docked in Malaysia, where an American traveler tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Health experts have expressed concern that the passengers of the Westerdam, operated by Holland American Line, were released without a quarantine order, including the 83-year-old American woman infected with COVID-19.

Go deeperArrow9 hours ago - Health

Thousands released from Carnival cruise ship after coronavirus scare

The Carnival Costa Smeralda cruise ship docked in Italy. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP via Getty Images

Approximately 6,000 Carnival cruise ship travelers have been released after a passenger from Macau experienced possible coronavirus symptoms but tested negative, the BBC reports.

The state of play: Officials feared the ship would be the first impacted by the coronavirus spread. Diseases can quickly flourish among cruise ship passengers because so many people are in such close proximity to each other.

Go deeper:

Keep ReadingArrowUpdated Jan 31, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health