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Passengers are leaving the Diamond Princess cruise liner after a two-week quarantine in the port of Yokohama, Japan. Photo: Igor Belyayev/TASS via Getty Images

Japan began releasing hundreds of people from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship Wednesday, but the 100-plus American passengers are restricted from traveling home for at least 14 days, the CDC said.

Details: The CDC said in a statement the two-week quarantine aboard the vessel, quarantined at Yokohama, potentially slowed transmission of the virus. But it "may not have been sufficient to prevent transmission among individuals on the ship."

"Because of their high-risk exposure, there may be additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the remaining passengers on board the Diamond Princess."
— CDC statement

By the numbers: 542 passengers and crew have been infected with COVID-19 aboard the Diamond Princess — the largest cluster outside mainland China.

  • About 500 people aboard the Diamond Princess who tested negative for the coronavirus and who have not shown any symptoms were due to disembark the cruise ship on Wednesday, per the Japanese government officials. More are set to leave in the coming days.

What they're saying: The CDC said it believes "the rate of new infections on board, especially among those without symptoms, represents an ongoing risk."

  • "[T]o protect the health of the American public, all passengers and crew of the ship have been placed under travel restrictions, preventing them from returning to the United States for at least 14 days after they had left the Diamond Princess," the statement continued.
  • "If an individual from this cruise arrives in the United States before the 14-day period ends, they will still be subject to a mandatory quarantine until they have completed the 14-day period with no symptoms or positive coronavirus test results."

The big picture: The Diamond Princess was carrying 3,700 passengers and crew when the outbreak began — triggered by a guest from Hong Kong, who sailed from Yokohama on Jan. 20 before disembarking back home on Jan. 25, per Princess Cruises. He showed no symptoms aboard the ship, but tested positive for coronavirus in a Hong Kong hospital six days later.

  • 328 American evacuees from the ship are in quarantine at U.S. military bases after arriving from Japan, including 14 confirmed infected with the novel coronavirus after disembarking the ship.
  • Canada, Australia and Hong Kong authorities were organizing charter flights to repatriate their citizens on Wednesday, Princess Cruises said.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Biden's Day 1 challenges: The immigration reset

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President-elect Biden has an aggressive Day One immigration agenda that relies heavily on executive actions to undo President Trump's crackdown.

Why it matters: It's not that easy. Trump issued more than 400 executive actions on immigration. Advocates are fired up. The Supreme Court could threaten the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and experts warn there could be another surge at the border.

Broncos and 49ers the latest NFL teams impacted by coronavirus crisis

From left, Denver Broncos quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel during an August training session at UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colorado. Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the NFL season into chaos, with all Denver Broncos quarterbacks sidelined, the San Francisco 49ers left without a home or practice ground and much of the Baltimore Ravens team unavailable, per AP.

Driving the news: The Broncos confirmed in a statement Saturday night that quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were identified as "high-risk COVID-19 close contacts" and will follow the NFL's mandatory five-day quarantine, making them ineligible for Sunday's game against New Orleans.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: McConnell temporarily halts in-person lunches for GOP caucus.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists.
  5. Cities: Surge in cases forces San Francisco to impose curfew — Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. Sports: NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge — NBA announces new coronavirus protocols.
  7. World: London police arrest more than 150 during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.