Americans to Enter Another Quarantine 02/16 10:18
TOKYO (AP) -- Americans Cheryl and Paul Molesky are trading one coronavirus
quarantine for another.
The couple from Syracuse, New York, are cutting short a 14-day quarantine on
the Diamond Princess cruise ship in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, to be
flown back to the United States. But they will have to spend another two-week
quarantine period at a U.S. military facility to make sure they don't have the
new virus that's been sweeping across Asia.
About 380 Americans are on the cruise ship. The Japanese defense ministry
said around 300 of them were preparing Sunday night to leave on buses to take
them to Tokyo's Haneda Airport. The U.S. State Department has arranged for
charter flights to fly the Americans back to the United States. Canada, Hong
Kong and Italy said they were planning similar flights of passengers.
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said Washington was evacuating the Americans
because the passengers and crew members on board the Diamond Princess were at a
high risk of exposure to the virus.
The Americans will be flown to Travis Air Force Base in California, with
some continuing to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. After arriving in the
U.S., all of the passengers will need to go through another 14 days of
quarantine --- meaning they will have been under quarantine for a total of
nearly four weeks.
"We are glad to be going home," Cheryl Molesky told NHK TV in Japan. "It's
just a little bit disappointing that we'll have to go through quarantine again,
and we will probably not be as comfortable as the Diamond Princess, possibly."
"The biggest challenge has been the uncertainty," she added.
Molesky also said she was getting concerned about the rising number of
patients on the ship.
"It's a little bit scary with the numbers going up of the people being taken
off the ship for the (virus), so I think its time to go. I think its time to
cut our losses and take off," she said.
Japan on Sunday announced another 70 infections on the Diamond Princess,
raising the ship's total number of cases to 355. Overall, Japan has 413
confirmed cases of the virus, including one death.
Asked how they felt about the additional 14-day quarantine in the United
States, Cheryl Molesky sighed, and her husband said, "If we have to go through
that, we will go through that."
Some American passengers aboard the ship said they would pass up the
opportunity to take a flight to the U.S. because of the additional quarantine.
There also was concern about being on a long flight with other passengers who
may be infected or in an incubation period.
Everyone will get a checkup before being allowed on the chartered flight,
and those who show symptoms of sickness will not be permitted to board the
plane, according to the embassy. American passengers who have already tested
positive for the virus will not be among those evacuated on the flights.
One of the Americans, Matthew Smith, said in a tweet Sunday that he saw a
passenger with no face mask talking at close quarters with another passenger.
He said he and his wife scurried away. "If there are secondary infections
onboard, this is why. ... And you wanted me to get on a bus with her?" he said.
He said the American health officials who visited their room was apparently
surprised that the couple had decided to stay. They wished the couple luck, and
Smith said he told them, "Thanks, but we're fine."