Hundreds of Americans trapped on a cruise ship because of coronavirus are finally back in the United States.
They had been quarantined on the Diamond Princess off the coast of Japan for nearly a month. As of Monday (2/17), more than 12 percent of the 3,711 people on board tested positive for COVID-19.
One of the passengers still healthy is Susan Anabel from Marysville.
"Having your freedoms taken away... you haven’t done anything wrong--- that’s really hard to get your mind around,” she told KIRO 7 News.
Anabel’s ordeal isn’t over yet.
She and hundreds of other Americans have been flown to Travis Air Force Base in California, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas, and about a dozen “high risk” passengers were flown to Omaha, Nebraska. All will need to complete another 14 days of quarantine.
“You get emotional,” she remarked. “You just want to go home and hug your kids and get on with your life."
Originally, only healthy people were supposed to be evacuated to the United States on two flights chartered by the U.S. government. However, as more than 300 people were on busses in transit to the two planes, coronavirus test results came back from Japanese health officials – and 14 of those Americans had tested positive.
The U.S. ended up making last minute changes to also allow those 14 passengers on the flights. They were isolated in a quarantined section of the plane.
Photos from Anabel show how close the quarantined passengers were to others on the flight.
“The whole thing is insane,” said her son, Jeff Anabel, over the phone. “All of them shoved into a plane together and sent on their way,” he said. He’s been closely monitoring developments from home in Snohomish County.
Another passenger on the plane from Utah took video on her cell phone, voicing her concerns too.
“We are all in really close, tight quarters,” said Karey Maniscalco from Utah. “It seems dangerous and not safe,” she said.
Health officials in Nebraska said on Monday at least one person developed symptoms that match those for COVID-19 while on the flight.
“Lightheaded, had a mild cough, fever documented before landing,” said Dr. Mike Waldman with the UNMC National Quarantine Unit in a press conference Monday.
Anabel is now at the base in California and will be there until at least March 1. Located in between San Francisco and Sacramento, Travis Air Force Base has been receiving a steady number of Americans since coronavirus evacuations began.
According to National Public Radio, each space has a clean bathroom, internet access and a television.
Food is said to be provided three times a day.
One evacuee even said she could order things online and have them delivered.
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