TAMPA, Fla. — The United States is now evacuating Americans stranded on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, due to a coronavirus outbreak on board.
- Some 285 people have tested positive for Coronavirus
- 380 Americans onboard, including Citrus County Florida couple
- Passengers will be taken to American quarantine sites
- PREVIOUS STORY: Americans on Coronavirus-Quarantined Cruise Ship to be Flown Home
Phil and Gay Courter of Crystal River are among those who have been stuck in their cabins since February 5. They say they are taking part in the evacuation. A public relations spokesperson said the couple was transported by a shuttle bus to Hanada Airport and are currently en route aboard a chartered aircraft back to the U.S.
There is a catch. The Courters and other American passengers who chose to leave the Diamond Princess will have to undergo another 14-day quarantine once they are back in the states. That will take place at military bases in California and Texas.
In a statement, they said: "Although we wish we could be home with our friends and family, we understand that we may have been infected. The burden of proof is on health officials to show that we can be safely released.”
There are more than 400 Americans who have been stuck on the ship. According to U.S. Embassy memos, the U.S. passengers were screened prior to traveling.
At least 24 Americans were already removed from the ship because they were infected. They are being treated at nearby hospitals.
Other countries like Canada and Australia are now following suit and are coming up with similar plans to get their citizens off the cruise ship. There are an estimated 3,600 on board who have been quarantined.