Hundreds of Americans flown home from cruise ship, 14 with coronavirus

Chinese authorities say the decrease is a sign that measures taken to halt the spread of the disease are having an effect.
More than 300 American cruise liner passengers, including 14 who tested positive for coronavirus, were flown home to military bases in the United States after two weeks under quarantine off Japan.

The cruise ship Diamond Princess, which with more than 400 cases has by far the largest cluster outside China, has become the biggest test so far of other countries’ ability to contain an outbreak that has killed 1,772 people in China and five elsewhere.

A ground crew in anti-contamination suits met the chartered jet that touched down at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas, and passengers could be seen climbing down the stairs wearing face masks in the pre-dawn mist. Another flight landed at Travis Air Force Base in California hours earlier.

All the passengers were taken into a two-week quarantine.

Although US officials had said passengers with coronavirus symptoms would not be repatriated, 14 passengers found at the last minute to have tested positive were permitted to board the planes.

The US State Department said the infected passengers were exposed to other passengers for about 40 minutes before they were isolated.

Across mainland China, the total number of coronavirus cases rose by 2,051 to 70,635, according to the World Health Organization. That was slightly more new cases than were reported on Sunday, but hundreds fewer than reported on Saturday.