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Official explains Diamond Princess cruise quarantine fail



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A top health official at the National Institutes of Health shed light on the decision to evacuate hundreds of American passengers from the coronavirus-infected Diamond Princess Cruises ship — 14 of whom tested positive for the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, explained that the original idea to keep people safely quarantined in an infection-controlled manner on the ship wasn’t unreasonable. But even with the quarantine process on the ship, virus transmission still occurred.

The Japanese health ministry said Monday the number of cases confirmed aboard the Diamond Princess had reached 454.

“As it turned out, that was very ineffective in preventing spread on the ship,” Fauci told the USA TODAY editorial board and reporters Monday. Every hour, there were another four or five people getting infected.

The quarantine on the ship was scheduled to end Feb. 19, and those who came back to the U.S. a couple days ahead of the end of the quarantine will likely have to restart the clock on a new 14-day quarantine period.



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