14 Americans who got the coronavirus from a quarantined cruise ship were flown home in an 'isolation box'
- Fourteen US citizens were found to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus as they were evacuated from a quarantined cruise ship to be brought home on Monday.
- Thousands of people had been quarantined in the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan for more than a week, and the US offered home for its citizens on Monday morning.
- But 14 people were tested positive for the coronavirus before they boarded the plane, so they were then put in a separate isolation box for the flight. You can see photos of it below.
- The State Department said that everyone would be quarantined for a further two weeks in the US, and that anyone on the plane who started to show symptoms would be isolated.
- The ship is due to be emptied, and other countries are debating whether they should fly their citizens home or let them be quarantined or treated in Japan.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Fourteen US citizens who were evacuated from a Japanese cruise ship that had been quarantined over the deadly coronavirus tested positive before boarding a plane home, and had to travel in an "isolation box" at the back of the aircraft.
The passengers were among more than 300 US citizens on the Diamond Princess, which had been quarantined off the coast of Japan for more than 10 days until they were evacuated on Monday.
They tested positive after they left the ship and as they were traveling to their plane home, the US State Department and Department of Health and Human Services said in a joint statement on Monday.
"During the evacuation process, after passengers had disembarked the ship and initiated transport to the airport, U.S. officials received notice that 14 passengers, who had been tested 2-3 days earlier, had tested positive for COVID-19," it said.
The agencies also said the passengers had been evaluated, and "all were deemed asymptomatic and fit to fly before being processed for evacuation."
When the test results were discovered, the 14 passengers were moved to a "specialised containment area on the evacuation aircraft to isolate them." The State Department, after consulting with experts, allowed them to fly while isolated from other passengers.
Photos and video footage from the plane, taken by fellow evacuees, shows the portable bio-containment unit for those passengers.
*NEW: US officials confirm that among the hundreds of Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, **14 passengers tested positive for #coronavirus** and had to be sequestered in the isolation unit you see in this video taken on board the flight. @NBCNews pic.twitter.com/1DnKEdHcWt— Janis Mackey Frayer (@janisfrayer) February 17, 2020
"All passengers are being closely monitored by medical professionals throughout the flight, and any who become symptomatic will be moved to the specialised containment area, where they will be treated," the State Department and Department of Health and Human Services said.
Those who do not show any symptoms or have positive test results will still be brought to military bases and be quarantined for 14 days, they added.
Four hundred and fifty-six cases of the virus were confirmed on the ship as of Monday morning - making it the place with the most infections outside China.
Those confirmed as infected are being treated on Japan's mainland. Around 3,700 passengers were on board the ship in total.
Plans for the voluntary evacuation of US citizens from the ship on two chartered planes were revealed last week.
The US had previously said that people who tested positive would not be allowed on the flight and would get medical treatment in Japan - a position that appears to have been reversed, likely because the cases were only discovered after the passengers were on their way to the plane.
Other Americans who had been identified as infected before the ship was evacuated stayed in Japan for treatment.
The ship's quarantine is expected to end this week. But not every country is following the US's lead and evacuating its citizens.
The UK is considering quarantining its citizens in hospitals in Japan rather than flying them home, The Daily Telegraph reported, noting anger from British citizens on board.
Passengers on board the Diamond Princess had previously shared pictures of lives in quarantine, including their room service and the ways they coped with boredom.
It is not the only cruise ship that has been quarantined over the coronavirus.
The Westerdam spent five weeks at sea before a Cambodian port finally allowed it to dock, and health officials announced on Saturday that they found a case after hundreds of people were allowed to leave the ship and begin their travels home.
The virus has now infected at least 71,000 people and killed more than 1,770. The vast majority of cases and deaths have been in mainland China, but it has also spread to at least 25 other countries.
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