(CNN NEWSOURCE) – Fears of coronavirus left thousands of passengers stranded aboard a cruise ship quarantined in Japan.
After weeks of waiting, some 400 Americans aboard the Diamond Princess are finally headed home.
The evacuees face a mandatory quarantine once they’re stateside.
“The busses are starting to line up,” Karey Maniscalco, a US Citizen on Diamond Princess, said.
Americans aboard the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship are on their way back to the US.
Docked off the Japanese port city of Yokohama since February 3, thousands of passengers remained on-board as health officials confirmed more than 350 cases of coronavirus, the largest concentration of cases outside mainland China.
“There are here to take us away,” Maniscalco said.
From the balconies of their cabins, passengers watched as teams in full-body suits boarded the ship to escort them off one-by-one.
“Sometime after six, you’re going to start disembarking from this,” CDC Official said.
Some 400 Americans loaded into buses destined for Tokyo, where two planes chartered by the US government waited to bring them home.
While the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship is finally behind them, it’s not the end of the journey for those Americans headed home.
Both flights are destined for US Air Force bases, one in California at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, the other in Texas.
Once they arrive, passengers face a mandatory two-week quarantine.
“Are we for sure going to be quarantined for another 14 days?” Maniscalco said.
“Yes,” CDC Official said.
“I didn’t like that answer,” Maniscalco said.
The Department of Health and Human Services, along with the CDC, will monitor evacuees for symptoms of coronavirus.
Anyone who tests positive or exhibits symptoms will be transferred for further evaluation and treatment.
46 Americans are among the more than 350 confirmed coronavirus cases aboard the Diamond Princess.
Those Americans, or anyone who shows symptoms, will not be allowed to take the US flights home.
They will remain in Japanese hospitals for treatment.
(This story was originally published on Feb. 17, 2020)