The U.S State Department, along with other government agencies, is organizing a charter flight to get Americans onboard the quarantined-Diamond Princes back home.
According to a letter the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo sent to Americans onboard the ship, the plane will arrive in Japan, where the ship is docked, on Feb. 16. American guests on the ship, which had been quarantined since a passenger tested positive for coronavirus on Feb. 1, will be bused to the plane and then be screened before boarding the flight.
Those who are sick will be treated in Japan if they cannot board the flight. The rest of the American guests will be able to board the flight to go to either Travis Air Force Base in California or Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
All passengers returning to the U.S. will then be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine once on U.S. soil.
“Travelers returning to the United States from high-risk areas are required to undergo quarantine,” the letter to passengers reads. “Accordingly, you will need to undergo further quarantine of 14 days when you arrive in the United States.
“We understand this is frustrating and an adjustment, but these measures are consistent with the careful policies we have instituted to limit the potential spread of the disease.”
Passengers will still be able to forgo the charter flight and stay onboard Diamond Princes to wait for the quarantine to end, but it’s not clear when they would then be allowed to return to the United States. The quarantine, which is currently scheduled to be completed on Feb. 19, may still be extended by Japan’s ministry of health.
More than 300 people onboard Diamond Princess have tested positive for coronavirus, the largest incidence of infection outside of mainland China.