Thursday, 02 April, 2020

Coronavirus: hopes of rescue flight home for Britons stuck on cruise

Infected passengers evacuated on US flights as China virus toll mounts Infected passengers evacuated on US flights as China virus toll mounts AFPAFP17 Feb 2020
Cecil Davis | 18 February, 2020, 05:10

A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were among the 3,711 people on board the ship, Diamond Princess, that arrived at the Japanese coast earlier this month.

One charter flight carrying evacuated Americans arrived at Travis Air Force Base near Fairfield, California, around 11:28 p.m. local time Sunday. A second flight took some of the evacuees to Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio.

The agencies said in a joint statement Monday that officials were notified that the 14 passengers had tested positive for the disease after they and the other Americans had left the Diamond Princess, reports CNN.

Ministers are considering whether to order a repatriation flight for more than 70 Britons stranded on a coronavirus-hit cruise ship off Japan.

The U.S. said it arranged the evacuation because people on the Diamond Princess were at a high risk of exposure to the virus.

Washington previously flew hundreds of Americans from China to military bases in the United States, and then arranged to bring back the 338 cruise ship passengers once their 14-day quarantines on board had expired.

The passengers who tested positive were isolated from the other passengers during the flights, the statement said.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said Sunday that an infected person who shows minimal symptoms could still pass the virus to someone else. All passengers on board will be placed in a 14-day quarantine.

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The 14 passengers who had tested positive were immediately moved to a separate facility in Omaha, Nebraska, officials said.

Eight of those who contracted the virus have since been discharged from hospital after recording two negative tests for the strain known as Covid-19. Duque said they are still weighing where to quarantine the evacuated passengers.

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The ministry said it now has tested 1,723 people on the Diamond Princess.

Sarah Arana, a California passenger on the Diamond Princess, said in a public Facebook post that she was visited by American doctors in white hazmat suits before going to the plane that would take her to the United States.

"The Australians who have been quarantined over the last 12 days, many of them have done everything that they have been asked to do and they are probably wondering why we are imposing this extra requirement", he said. Those showing symptoms of COVID-19 during pre-flight screening will not be allowed to board with the rest of the evacuees back to Canada and will instead receive treatment in Japan, according to the Global Affairs statement.

Smith said the woman was not wearing a face mask and was standing "well within 6 feet" of another passenger on an adjacent balcony.

"We haven't received results yet, but we have no reason to expect we're infected", he said.