SAN ANTONIO – Some American passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship are likely headed to Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland in the coming days to continue to be monitored for the novel coronavirus, according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Japan and the Wall Street Journal.
Citing a Center for Disease Control and Prevention official, the newspaper reported late Friday night that “about 380 Americans and their families on the ship, docked in Yokohama, Japan, will be offered seats on two State Department-organized planes flying back to the U.S.”
Any passengers that show symptoms of the virus won’t be allowed on the flight, the Journal reported, according to Henry Walke, director of the CDC’s Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections.
A letter from the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Japan sent to the passengers reads as follows: “The aircraft will arrive in Japan the evening of February 16. Buses will move you and your belongings from the ship to the aircraft. Passengers will be screened for symptoms and we are working with our Japanese partners to ensure that any symptomatic passengers receive the required care in Japan if they cannot board the flight. The aircraft will land in the United States at Travis Air Force Base in California. Some passengers will then continue onward to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.”
KSAT has reached out to the city, military and local health officials for more details and we’ll bring you more information here and on KSAT 12.
The letter continued: “Travelers returning to the United States from high-risk areas are required to undergo quarantine. 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.”
Thousands of passengers were quarantined on the ship on Feb. 5 after a passenger who had already gotten off contracted the virus. More than 200 passengers, including dozens of Americans, have already been moved off the ship for treatment after contracting the virus, according to the New York Times.
That newspaper reported that Americans on the ship would be evacuated but did not mention where they would end up.
According to the CDC, 15 cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed in the United States, including one in San Antonio.
An evacuee from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began, is being treated at Methodist Hospital | Texsan in Balcones Heights.
Officials said the patient, who was quarantined at Joint Base San Antonio — Lackland, was found to have a fever before being privately escorted to a hospital in an ambulance equipped with protective coverings and a highly-trained staff, wearing protective gear.
Methodist Healthcare said the patient tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, but as of Thursday, is stable with mild symptoms. The risk to the public remains low, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Thursday.
Globally, more than 60,000 people have contracted the virus and more than 1,500 have died.
This story originally appeared on our San Antonio sister station, KSAT.