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Diamond Princess cruise passenger details US rescue



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Two charter flights carrying American Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers landed at military bases in California and Texas overnight, starting the clock on a new 14-day quarantine period to ensure those passengers don’t have coronavirus

Fourteen evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan were allowed to fly back to the United States Sunday despite testing positive for the virus, the U.S. State Department and Health and Human Services saidin a joint statement. They were not symptomatic. 

Matthew Smith, a passenger aboard the ship, told USA TODAY he and his wife, Katherine, did not plan to take the charter flight back to the U.S. because they believed the “way they are handling this is not safe.” Sunday, he shared details of what it looked like for passengers as the evacuation began.

“(I’m) watching the ‘rescue’ with fascination,” the family law attorney from Sacramento, California, wrote in a series of messages to USA TODAY. “To have a front-row seat to an incident being followed world-wide is bizarre.”

In a letter sent Sunday morning to American passengers and crew members, the U.S. Embassy in Japan announced flights would depart Yokohama to the U.S. that day and would be the “only opportunity for eligible passengers to fly to the United States until March 4, 2020, at the earliest.” 

Smith said passengers were prompted to RSVP to the U.S. Embassy. 

“The American medical personnel who stopped by our stateroom to ask us some questions seemed surprised that we were staying, but didn’t go beyond that,” Smith said. Personnel confirmed the couple was not on their list before advising someone through a radio that they would remain on board, he said. 



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