U.S. to evacuate Americans stuck on quarantined cruise ship

Author: CBS News
Published: Updated:
A passenger is seen on a balcony of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama on February 14, 2020. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES via CBS News.

The United States is planning to bring Americans home from a cruise ship that’s been quarantined in Japan. Outside of China, the Diamond Princess is the site of the biggest coronavirus outbreak with it’s over 200 infections, including more than a dozen Americans, CBS News foreign correspondent Debora Patta reports.

The ship has been in the port city of Yokohama for well over a week now.

Those looking to take the charter flight to the U.S. on Sunday will undergo a health screening before boarding, and symptomatic passengers will not be allowed to board, the U.S. Embassy in Japan said. Passengers will be taken to Travis Air Force Base in California and some will continue on to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

The virus has infected tens of thousands of people around the world – most of them in mainland China. More than 1,600 people have died from the virus, which has spread to more than two dozen countries.

On Saturday, France’s health minister announced the first death from the novel coronavirus in Europe. The patient was an 80-year-old Chinese tourist who arrived in France in mid-January and was hospitalized later that month with a lung infection, according to French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn.

There are 15 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States, but none are said to be suffering serious symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is setting up five labs around the country where people with flu-like symptoms can be tested for coronavirus if their flu results are negative.

Woman quarantined in Nebraska tests negative for coronavirus

A woman being quarantined at Camp Ashland in Nebraska tested negative for coronavirus, Nebraska Medicine announced Saturday. The woman will be released from the hospital and return to quarantine at the military base, where 56 others are being monitored.

“If everyone at Camp Ashland remains without symptoms, the group will leave quarantine at 9:00 a.m. February 20,” the hospital said in a statement.

China announces 139 new deaths

China’s Hubei province announced 139 more deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the death toll in China to at least 1,663. Another 955 cases were also confirmed, bringing the total global number of confirmed cases to at least 51,535.

Toyota to resume business operations in China next week

Toyota is set to begin reopening manufacturing plants in China, the company announced Saturday.

“Starting the week of February 17, we will begin a step-by-step process to gradually resume business operations at our manufacturing plants in China,” the car manufacturer said in a statement. “We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and make decisions following the direction of local and regional governments. Normal operations will resume once it is deemed safe and appropriate.”

Honda has already restarted production at several plants in China, and plans to resume operations in several more beginning the week of February 17 as well. Honda also stated, “Wuhan factories will return to work on February 21, and are expected to resume production the week of February 24.

Nissan hopes to resume production next week as well.

— Reporting by Kathryn Krupnik

CDC will support effort to return Diamond Princess passengers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday released a statement detailing the repatriation of American passengers onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship that has been quarantined in Japan for over a week.

“The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is supporting the Department of State-led mission to repatriate U.S. citizens who want to return to the United States from Japan, currently aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship,” the CDC said in a statement.

“To fulfill our responsibilities to U.S. citizens, as well as to reduce the burden on the Japanese health care system, the U.S. government recommends that U.S. citizens disembark and return to the United States for further monitoring.”

Americans returning to the U.S. will be subject to a 14-day quarantine at either Travis Air Force Base in California, or the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas, according to the CDC.

“The passengers will be screened before leaving the ship and monitored and evaluated by medical and public health personnel every step of the way, including before takeoff, during the flight, and after arrival.”


Passengers on quarantined cruise ship mostly confined to their cabins

Passengers onboard a cruise ship that’s quarantined in Japan have been confined to their cabins with only the occasional stroll allowed on deck, CBS News foreign correspondent Debora Patta reports. Many of them are battling boredom.

One passenger told Patta she’d received an email from the American embassy in Japan offering her a seat on a chartered U.S. plane that’s scheduled to bring Americans from the ship home on Sunday.

Outside of China, the Diamond Princess ship is the site of the biggest coronavirus outbreak, with it’s over 200 infections, including more than a dozen Americans.

Patta reports that around 380 Americans could be evacuated from the Diamond Princess.

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