First plane carrying US citizens evacuated from Japan virus ship lands in US

14 Test Positive Among US Plane Evacuees From Japan Virus Ship: State Dept

The first of two planes carrying hundreds of Americans from a cruise ship under quarantine in the Japanese port of Yokohama arrived in the U.S. late Sunday, California time, early Monday, Eastern time.

The first flight is due to land shortly at a US Air Force base in California, where all passengers will undergo 14 days quarantine, while a second plane is heading to another base in San Antonio, Texas.

The US flew home its citizens from a coronavirus-infected cruise ship in Japan on Monday, 17 February, with other nations preparing to follow suit as global concerns grow over the spread of the disease and the death toll at its Chinese epicentre topped 1,700, AFP reported.

At least Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and Italy were planning similar flights.

More than 600 people are already in quarantine in the United States, evacuated earlier from the virus epicenter in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

Fourteen people who had tested positive for the new coronavirus were among the more than 300 US citizens and family members evacuated by plane from a quarantined ship in Japan, the US State Department said on Monday, 17 February.

The passengers had already disembarked from the Diamond Princess and were preparing to return to the United States on chartered aircraft when US officials were informed 14 of them who had been tested days earlier were positive for COVID-19, it said in a joint statement with the Department of Health and Human Services.

"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," it said.

"During the flights, these individuals will continue to be isolated from the other passengers."

Currently, WHO put the death toll from the virus as of Sunday at 1,669 and said there were 51,857 lab-confirmed cases while Chinese authorities reported 70,548 cases but those include broader diagnostic criteria than the ones the WHO uses. China reported 1,770 deaths.


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