Americans Evacuated from Diamond Princess

COVID-19 rendering
COVID-19 rendering by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Published Feb 16, 2020 5:35 PM by The Maritime Executive

Around 400 Americans were evacuated from the Diamond Princess on Sunday, 40 of them infected with coronavirus and taken to hospital.

The passengers and crew of the cruise ship have been quarantined on the vessel in Japanese waters since February 3. 

70 new coronavirus cases were confirmed on board the Diamond Princess on Sunday. This brings the total to 355, the largest number of cases in one area outside China. Those already diagnosed with the virus have been hospitalized in Japan; none have died.

The expatriated passengers are being taken on two flights: one to California, one to Texas. They will be housed separately from individuals already in quarantine from previous Wuhan repatriation flights. On arrival in the U.S. they will undergo health checks, and their subsequent 14-day quarantine will be managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Other nations, including Canada, Italy, South Korea and Hong Kong are taking similar measures to repatriate their citizens from the Diamond Princess.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the potential public health threat posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) is high, both globally and to the United States. “The fact that this disease has caused illness, including illness resulting in death, and sustained person-to-person spread in China is concerning. These factors meet two of the criteria of a pandemic. 

“It’s unclear how the situation will unfold, but risk is dependent on exposure. At this time, some people will have an increased risk of infection, for example healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 and other close contacts of patients with COVID-19. For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low at this time.”

As of Sunday, 68,500 cases have been reported in China including 1,696 deaths in Hubei. China is hopeful the spread is being contained, as 2,009 new cases were reported on Sunday, down from 2,600 of the previous day.

In the Chinese province of Hubei, the center of the outbreak, new measures are being enacted to contain the virus. Everyone has been ordered to stay home. A single person from each household will be allowed out to buy food and essential items every three days. Most businesses will stay closed.