The US passengers have reportedly departed on two chartered aircraft from Tokyo's Haneda Airport in the early hours of February 17, as the United States initiates the evacuation process. The Americans were reportedly quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise liner docked in the port of Yokohama, south of Tokyo.
According to the reports, nearly 400 Americans amongst others were held in lockdown since February 3 on the ship in Japan when people aboard exhibited symptoms of coronavirus. The passengers were restrained when a Hong Konger who disembarked the vessel tested positive for the novel COVID 19.
The American nationals that have been airlifted by the US government will reportedly spend another 14 days quarantined within the US. According to the government, those that proactively chose not to board the chartered planes would wait for 14 days in Japan to ensure that they were symptom-free before returning to the US, said reports.
A US Health Official confirmed to the media that more than 40 American citizens were infected with the deadly coronavirus onboard the Diamond Princess cruise liner, and they will not be a part of the evacuation effort. Anthony Fauci, a senior official at the National Institutes for Health, US, said that the American nationals that tested positive for the novel coronavirus were not going anywhere, said reports.
The decision of the US authorities to not repatriate the infected American citizens in evacuation effort, and flying citizens without having them tested for the virus first has prompted anger amongst the US nationals. The US citizens also questioned the prolonged delay by the American government in rescuing them out of the cruise that now has the largest cluster of coronavirus cases.
Matthew Smith, an American passenger tweeted, “From tragedy to comedy to farce, the US government instead wants to take us off without testing, fly us back to the US with a bunch of other untested people, and then stick us in 2 more weeks of quarantine. How does that make any sense at all?”
According to the reports, the initiative by the American government to evacuate its citizens from the Diamond Princess cruise has put pressure on other governments with citizens on board the vessel to respond. Seventy new cases were reportedly confirmed on the 16 February according to Japan’s minister of health, labor and welfare, Katsunobu Kato, taking the number of cases on the ship over 350, confirmed reports.