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Nearly 400 Americans being flown home from cruise ship quarantine to US military bases

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As many as 380 Americans on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan – which has nearly 300 passengers who have tested positive for the deadly coronavirus, now known as COVID-19 – will be extracted Sunday from Yokohama and flown to Travis Air Force Base near Fairfield and a Texas base for further quarantine.

Government officials said it would fly U.S. citizens on the cruise ship who want to return from Japan aboard a chartered flight to Travis Air Force Base or Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, according to a U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention statement Saturday. The U.S. State Department, through the embassy in Tokyo, informed passengers that it would be chartering the flight for Sunday.

Travelers would be screened before leaving the ship, on the flight and again upon arrival, according to health. Those people would then be quarantined for 14 days in units separate from the other Americans already evacuated from Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus outbreak originated.

Previous citizens evacuated from Wuhan have been housed at an on-base hotel at Travis since arriving on Feb. 5, and health officials said that none of the roughly 200 Americans there have been diagnosed with the virus.

“Everyone’s doing just fine, spirits are fine. I think they’re all looking forward to end of quarantine,” said CDC spokesman Jason McDonald, who was at Travis on Saturday morning.

Earlier this week, CDC officials said that five people under quarantine had been hospitalized at Fairfield-area civilian hospitals with symptoms of the virus, but tests showed none had COVID-19.

“You keep them separate because the ones locally have gone a certain amount of time without being exposed,” McDonald said. “It’s just wise and prudent to put a new batch of those who may have had exposure in a separate group so the …read more

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