Diamond Princess passenger talks U.S. Embassy evacuation

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While the U.S. begins the process of evacuating American passengers under quarantine due to coronavirus aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, a passenger who chose to remain on the ship detailed what the evacuation looks like from the inside. 

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

“(I’m) watching the ‘rescue’ with fascination,” he 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. later that day and would be the “only opportunity for eligible passengers to fly to the United States until March 4, 2020, at the earliest.” 

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