Coronavirus on a cruise ship: 400 Americans evacuated, the first Russian woman fell ill
US citizens aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship were evacuated from a ship that was quarantined for two weeks in the port of Japan. Two charters of the US government departed from Tokyo International Airport on the morning of February 17, writes Air force, and have already landed in the USA. In total, about 400 Americans were on board the ship.
Since February 3, the Diamond Princess liner has been quarantined in the Japanese port of Yokohama due to the outbreak of the 2019 coronavirus nCoV on board. About 3700 people are on board the cruise ship.
The ship was quarantined after a coronavirus was found in a man who went out in Hong Kong.
Japanese authorities said on February 16 that the number of new cases on board the ship had increased by 70 to 355. At least 40 US citizens are infected with coronavirus and will be treated in Japan, said doctor Anthony Fouchi, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
One plane with American passengers landed at Travis Air Base in Northern California on February 16 shortly before 23:30 local time, writes USA Today. The second flight arrived at the Lacland Air Force Base in Texas in about 2,5 hours, on the night of February 17th.
Americans who flew to the United States will be quarantined at the Air Force base in California for two weeks.
“And the reason for this decision is that the degree of transmission of the coronavirus on this cruise ship is like staying at an access point,” explained doctor Fouchi.
14 evacuated received permission to fly back to the United States, despite a positive test for coronavirus, according to a joint statement by the US State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services. They had no symptoms.
“These people were moved in the most expeditious and safe way to a special containment area on an evacuation plane in order to isolate them in accordance with standard protocols,” the statement said on February 16.
Earlier on February 16, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said on CBS's Face to the Nation show that an infected person with minimal symptoms can still transmit the virus to someone else. He stated that at least 40 Americans on board the cruise ship tested positive for coronavirus. It was not immediately clear whether we were talking about another 20 cases in addition to the 20 known ones, or whether this is a new total.
In a letter sent to American passengers and crew on the morning of February 16, the US Embassy in Japan announced that flights would be "the only opportunity to fly to the United States before March 4, 2020."
Some Americans refused to leave the ship. According to CNN, the decision to send people to a new quarantine after almost two weeks of quarantine on the liner "caused anger among American passengers."
“It looks like a jail sentence for something I did not do,” said passenger Keri Mansikalko. Those who refused to fly to the United States on February 17 will have to spend another two weeks in Japan before being able to return home.
How is the evacuation
Also, Canada, Australia, South Korea, Italy, Hong Kong and Taiwan announced plans to evacuate their citizens from a cruise ship, writes "Jellyfish".
Australian authorities intend to evacuate 209 of their citizens who have no coronavirus infection with Diamond Princesses. The evacuation will begin on February 19, when the two-week quarantine ends on the cruise ship. After returning to Australia, people will be quarantined again. Among the Australians at Diamond Princesses, there are about 150 people over the age of 60.
78 British citizens are also on board, but no evacuation has been reported. The British, locked on a cruise ship, believe that the authorities refused them. Passengers called on the government and business to evacuate, citing the decision of US authorities as an example. The British Foreign Office, in response to a question about evacuation, said officials "work around the clock to guarantee the well-being of British citizens on board." According to The Telegraph, instead of returning to their homeland, the British can still be quarantined in Japan.
According to the Russian Embassy in Japan, a coronavirus was found in one passenger of a cruise ship from Russia. She did not ask for evacuation to Russia.
Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov told Interfax that the authorities will begin to discuss the evacuation of 24 Russian citizens on board after quarantine measures are completed on the liner. The Russian Embassy in Japan, in turn, told the agency that there was no plan to deliberately evacuate the Russians from the cruise ship, and passengers would leave it individually.
On February 10, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reported two Ukrainians (a man and a woman) who were ill on board the ship, where 25 Ukrainian citizens work. The infected were taken to a special hospital in Japan. Their condition is described as normal - a mild illness. What will happen to the rest of the Ukrainians on board the liner is no information yet. Ukraine plans to evacuate its citizens from China on February 19. A total of 56 people must be evacuated, of which 11 are foreigners, in particular, Argentines. We are talking about healthy people who agreed to undergo 14-day quarantine in Ukraine.
What happens on the liner
The Princess Princess liner left Yokohama on January 20, passed the Kagoshima-Hong Kong-Okinawa route and returned. The ship carried 2666 guests and 1045 crew members. On February 4, 10 cases of coronavirus were recorded on board the vessel. Several people began to complain about their health, so the authorities decided to examine everyone on board.
The Japanese government distributed two thousand iPhones to the passengers of the ship. This was done so that people can use the application created by the Ministry of Health of Japan, which helps users communicate with doctors, pharmacists and mental health consultants. Phones registered outside of Japan do not have access to the program.
Last week, the cruise line announced that some passengers, starting with the medical-vulnerable, would be released from the ship to undergo quarantine on land. On February 14, the US Embassy in Tokyo announced that the first group of passengers had landed in Yokohama. Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono tweeted that Japanese troops helped transport American passengers by bus from the port in Yokohama to Haneda Tokyo Airport.
Another liner with coronavirus
The U.S. Department of State said on Sunday that it was studying the case of a U.S. citizen who was diagnosed with coronavirus after she got off the MS Westerdam cruise ship. 255 passengers and 747 crew members remain on board the ship, which docked in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, on February 16, after failures in the ports of Japan, Thailand and Guam. Earlier analyzes taken from passengers before going ashore in Cambodia yielded negative results.
Malaysian authorities said an American, 83-year-old woman, had twice passed a virus test upon arrival in Malaysia after she developed symptoms of a viral infection, a State Department spokesman said Sunday. Both tests gave a positive result. She became the first person with Westerdam whose analyzes tested positive. Her husband’s analyzes were negative.
A State Department spokesman said the US authorities did not have "enough information to determine when and where a passenger could become infected."
The official added that he could not share additional information for reasons of privacy, but said that the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur is in close contact with local authorities and the patient.
“All hotel guests in Phnom Penh have passed the COVID-19 test,” the cruise line said. - The results will be made public after the audit, but the first 406 people gave negative results. Authenticated guests can head home, and action will be taken. ”
Recent infection spread data
The Chinese authorities believe that the infection is under control, but the WHO believes that it is impossible to predict how the epidemic will develop, writes "Voice of America".
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in China on February 17 exceeded 70 thousand people. In Hubei Province, the center of the epidemic, another 100 people died from the virus, resulting in nearly 1800 deaths in China. Five deaths outside mainland China have been reported in France, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan.
The number of new cases in Hubei is only slightly higher than the same figure for February 16, but lower than the data for February 14 and 15. The Chinese authorities consider this a sign that the epidemic is under control.
However, WHO Director-General Tedros Adan Gebreyesus on February 16 tweeted that “it is impossible to predict in which direction the epidemic will develop.”
Although Beijing recently earned praise for its efforts to curb the epidemic, WHO is still asking for more information on how China is diagnosed.
Chinese state media on Saturday published a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping on February 3, from which it follows that authorities in Beijing knew more about the severity of coronavirus at least two weeks before the public was informed of its danger. Only in late January did officials say that the virus could be transmitted from person to person.
In a January 7 speech, Xi Jinping ordered the closure of the cities that were most affected by the virus. But the implementation of this order began only on January 23.
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