As the number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases continues to rise globally, 14 Americans tested positive for coronavirus after being evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship currently quarantined in Japan. More than 300 citizens and their immediate family members were deemed asymptomatic and fit to fly by medical personnel before their repatriation, according to both the U.S. State Department and the Department of Health & Human Services. Early in the evacuation process, however, tests showed that 14 of those evacuees had the novel coronavirus, which the World Health Organization recently named COVID-19.
"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," a joint statement from HHS and the State Department read. "These individuals were moved in the most expeditious and safe manner to a specialized containment area on the evacuation aircraft to isolate them in accordance with standard protocols."
State Department officials said they'd decided to allow the 14 passengers to fly, in isolation, with the rest of the evacuees to military airbases in California and Texas. All passengers are expected to remain under quarantine for 14 days after landing, according to the State Department.
Those who develop symptoms in flight or who have already tested positive for the virus will be isolated and transported to what the State Department called "an appropriate location for continued isolation and care." Romper has reached out to HHS for additional comment.
Passengers onboard the Diamond Princess have been quarantined on the cruise ship since Feb. 3 after an individual who'd disembarked in Hong Kong tested positive for the coronavirus. The ship's quarantine is expected to end date February 19, according to Princess Cruise Lines. So far 456 people onboard the ship have tested positive for the coronavirus, making it the largest location of confirmed cases outside mainland China, according to CNN. Of those 456 infected individuals, at least 62 are said to be Americans, the cable news outlet reported.
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