Americans Infected with the Coronavirus Fly Back to the United States

A bus carrying American citizens from the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship (back) that has been kept in quarantine leaves Yokohama Port on Feb. 17, 2020. The evacuees left Japan on U.S. government-chartered aircraft from Tokyo's Haneda airport later in the day. (Kyodo via AP Images) ==Kyodo

Kyodo

A bus carrying American citizens from the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship (back) that has been kept in quarantine leaves Yokohama Port on Feb. 17, 2020. The evacuees left Japan on U.S. government-chartered aircraft from Tokyo's Haneda airport later in the day. (Kyodo via AP Images) ==Kyodo

Lily Earwood, Contributor

About 300 virus-free American passengers were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship along with over a dozen infected individuals. They were transported from the cruise ship on buses and were taken to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. This cruise ship in Japan has been major news due to the large coronavirus outbreak on board causing an entire ship-wide epidemic. More than 600 of the 3,700 people on the cruise have tested positive for the virus (The Washington Post).

Additionally, according to Japan’s health ministry, two elderly passengers died on the Diamond Princess cruise. The cruise confirmed this and that the two passengers had previous chronic illnesses (USA Today).

At first, the U.S. officials had to decide whether the infected would stay in Japanese hospitals. They announced that the infected would not be allowed to board the planes. However, due to arguments that broke out, they then concluded that they would be sending the passengers home on the plane, but keep them contained within a plastic enclosure. The CDC did not approve of the infected passengers return due to the risk of the virus spreading to the healthy Americans on the evacuation plane.

Even though the infected Americans didn’t show the symptoms, the virus could still be passed, according to Dr. Anthony Faucy, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. Despite the risks, they allowed them to board the infected onto the evacuation plane and placed the 14 Americans stricken with the virus segregated from the rest. They were flown to Northern California on Sunday just before 11:30 pm. Then, a second flight landed in Texas a few hours afterwards (Independent.ie).

No further updates have been made on this current situation.