The Americans will be removed from a quarantined cruise ship outside of Japan and taken home, the US embassy said. UU. As dozens more cases of the new coronavirus were diagnosed on board.
At least 285 people at the Diamond Princess have contracted the disease, but hundreds of passengers and crew have not yet been tested while waiting in a quarantine scheduled to end on February 19.
In a message to the Americans, the embassy said that the United States government “recommends, as a precaution, that US citizens disembark and return to the United States for further monitoring.”
Subsequently, a spokesman for the US state department. UU. He echoed the comments and confirmed that US citizens should return.
The embassy warned that those who return will have to spend another 14 days of quarantine when they arrive in the United States.
A rented flight will arrive in Japan on Sunday, but it was not immediately clear when it would depart. The message says the flight will land at Travis Air Force Base in California, with some passengers continuing to a second air base in Texas.
Japanese public broadcaster NHK said 400 Americans were on board the cruise and that the plane would depart from Tokyo’s Haneda airport as early as Monday.
“Passengers will be examined for symptoms and we are working with our Japanese partners to ensure that symptomatic passengers receive the necessary attention in Japan if they cannot board the flight,” the message said.
“If you decide not to return on this charter flight, you will not be able to return to the United States for a period of time,” he warned.
The Japanese government was organizing special boarding procedures for US citizens taking the chartered flight, an official said, adding that “a certain number” of other countries have also shown interest in similar evacuation measures.
While some Americans on the ship have urged their government to get them off the ship, others on board criticized the plan.
“Incredibly disappointed that the US government has decided to throw a wrench to the quarantine we have kept here aboard the Diamond Princess,” tweeted Matt Smith, an American lawyer.
“The US government. UU. … do you want to take us without proof, take us back to the US? UU. With a group of other untested people and then get in 2 more weeks of quarantine? How does that make sense?
– Quarantine chronology in doubt –
There were more than 3,700 people on the ship when it arrived on the Japanese coast in early February. It was quarantined after a passenger who landed in Hong Kong tested positive for the newly appointed COVID-19.
Those diagnosed on board were taken to the local hospital, and people who remained on the ship said their quarantine would end on February 19, two weeks after it officially began.
But a message conveyed on the ship by the captain on Saturday night cast doubt on that timeline.
“The Japanese government has informed us that they can begin a new test process for guests starting February 18,” the message said, warning that it would take several days to complete and that the results would not be available for about three days.
“Therefore, guests who undergo the test on February 18 and have negative results may disembark as of February 21,” the message said.
Those who had close contact with anyone who tested positive would have to restart their quarantine from the date of their last close contact, he added.
And the crew on board will enter a new quarantine period once the passengers have left the ship, although the details of how long it would last were not immediately clear, according to the transmission.
The government of Japan has begun to allow older passengers on the ship with health problems to leave and finish their quarantine on land.
People on board have been limited mainly to their cabins and have been required to wear masks and stay away from others during brief departures on deck.
On Saturday, the health ministry confirmed 12 other infections in Japan, including taxi drivers in Tokyo and patients in a hospital in western Japan, where two doctors have already tested positive.
Excluding cases on the ship, and an infected quarantine officer, the Japanese authorities have so far diagnosed at least 52 people with the virus, which has killed more than 1,500 and infected at least 66,000 in China.