Passengers stranded on Diamond Princess sent home on surreal flights


Pictures provided by a passenger on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship show the surreal journey it took to get home — and the quarantine doesn’t end there.

Lolita Wiesner took these pictures showing medical personnel employees in protective gear serving breakfast and checking temperature for signs of fever to Canadians inside a charter plane on their way back from Japan to Canadian Forces Base Trenton on February 20, 2020.

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Around 100 more passengers were allowed to disembark from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship on Saturday as Japan’s health minister apologised after 23 others were allowed to leave without being properly tested.

The news came as a Japanese woman who left the ship on Wednesday tested positive for the virus after returning home to Tochigi Prefecture, Kyodo news agency reported, citing the prefectural government.

She is the first person to have tested positive for the virus among the group of approximately 970 passengers who disembarked earlier this week, it said.

The 100 passengers who left on Saturday had been in close contact with infected people on board, local media said.

The United States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and South Korea have all said they will evacuate their citizens from the boat, with more than 300 Americans arriving back on home soil on Monday.

CANADA

AUSTRALIA

The first group of Australians evacuated from China’s Wuhan province to a Darwin camp are expected to be released following 14 days in quarantine. About 266 people will leave the Howard Springs quarantine camp on Sunday, after they were evacuated earlier this month from the epicentre of the coronavirus at Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province.

It comes as the number of coronavirus cases among passengers evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan has risen, with a 57-year old Queensland woman testing positive on Saturday evening.

Seven cases have now been confirmed among the group of 164, who are also being kept at the facility near Darwin after leaving the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama on Thursday.

“This reaffirms the decision we made not just to conduct an airlift (from the cruise ship) but to ensure that these people were in supervised quarantine in a separate area within the Howard Springs facility,” federal Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters on Saturday.

UK

A plane carrying dozens of Britons and a few EU nationals landed in Britain on Saturday, officials said.

“The UK has brought home 32 British and European citizens from the Diamond Princess ship,” UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

“Thanks to our staff and medics on board who supported the flight.”

The plane landed at Boscombe Down military base in southern England and passengers will be placed in a further 14-day quarantine.

UK officials said those repatriated included a small number of EU citizens, without specifying the precise figure or their nationalities.

USA

exclusive photos show the surreal, polyethylene-wrapped aerial hell suffered by American passengers of the Diamond Princess as they were shipped back to the US this week, the New York Post has revealed.

The passengers suffered through the 10-odd-hour flight in two cargo planes converted into flying quarantine wards.

They sat in their seats wearing face masks, and likely eyeing their traveling companions warily.

And their flight attendants looked like hazmat removal workers — fully suited from head to toe in sterile latex and plastic.

I SRAEL

Israel confirmed Friday its first case of new coronavirus in a citizen who flew home from Japan earlier this week after being quarantined on the stricken cruise ship Diamond Princess.

“One of the passengers who returned home from the cruise ship in Japan tested positive in a check-up by the health ministry’s central laboratory,” a ministry statement said.

A total of 15 Israelis were among the passengers quarantined on board the Diamond Princess, of whom 11 have flown home.

The others all tested negative for the virus.

The returning Israelis had all been placed in quarantine for 14 days at the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv.

“They are in full isolation,” said Dr Gili Regev-Yochay, director of the hospitals’ infectious diseases unit.

“It’s in many ways like a jail. We try to make it as best as we could to have them in a very nice and comfortable place, but very isolated.” The woman who tested positive for the virus “is not sick”, Regev-Yochay added.



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