US to evacuate its citizens from quarantined cruise ship
WASHINGTON, FEB 15 : The US has announced that it will evacuate American citizens trapped aboard the coronavirus-hit quarantined cruise ship, Diamond Princess off the coast of Yokohama in Japan.
According to a report in Wall Street Journal, the State Department will evacuate hundreds of American citizens on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is under quarantine for the coronavirus in Japan.
The US move will bring pressure on other countries to follow suit or for calls for a combined evacuation operation for those aboard the cruise as the number of infected people from coronavirus is going up every passing day.
About 380 people will be offered seats on two planes back to the US and could arrive back home as early as Sunday.
The cruise ship is the site of the maximum number of coronavirus infections infections outside China, the epicentre of the outbreak.
According to the report, those having fever, cough or other symptoms will not be allowed on the flights.
Evacuees will have additional health screenings in the US and some will probably undergo a mandatory quarantine which will be 14 days, an official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was quoted as saying.
The Diamond Princess cruise ship owned by Carnival Corp, has been quarantined since arriving in Yokohama on February 3, after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong was found to be infected.
The ship has been held in quarantine in a Japanese port since 3 February. Out of 3,700 people on board, 218 have tested positive for the virus.
Three Indians have also tested positive and some others have sent a SOS message to the Indian government seeking help.
The External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has promised the necessary assistance for those stranded.
The US move has not gone down well some on Twitter. One netizen said that imagine you are trapped and only the Americans are able to get out.