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North Texas Couple Onboard Quarantined Cruise Ship In Japan To Return To US Sunday

JAPAN (CBSDFW.COM) — The Department of Health and Human Services is supporting the Department of State-led mission to repatriate United States citizens who were onboard a quarantined cruise ship out of Japan.

The U.S. said Americans onboard the Diamond Princess ship will be flown back home on a chartered flight Sunday, but that they will face another two-week quarantine.

About 380 Americans are on the ship, which has since docked at Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo. So far, 285 people from the ship have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Passengers — including North Texas newly weds Tyler and Rachel Torres — have been quarantined on the ship since Feb. 5 and remained in their rooms until Wednesday.

"They're doing everything they possibly can to keep us entertained," Torres told CBS 11 during a satellite interview.

The Irving couple said they found out Monday that someone in the room next to theirs tested positive for the coronavirus. But they said doctors and the Centers for Disease Control told them they're not at high risk of getting sick because they didn't have any direct contact with that patient.

After arriving in the U.S., the couple — along with hundreds of other Americans — will need to go through another two weeks of quarantine at Air Force bases in Texas and California.

In a statement released Saturday, the CDC said the government "will conduct risk assessments to ensure the health of each traveler."

"Those passengers returning from Japan will be housed separately from individuals already in quarantine from previous Wuhan repatriation flights. All travelers from Japan will be screened before boarding the State Department-chartered aircraft to prevent symptomatic travelers from departing Japan. These planes will be met by a team of U.S. Government personnel deployed there to assess the health of the passengers. The passengers will be screened before leaving the ship and monitored and evaluated by medical and public health personnel every step of the way, including before takeoff, during the flight, and after arrival. U.S. Government staff will conduct risk assessments to ensure the health of each traveler, including temperature checks and observation for respiratory symptoms.

Travelers will be monitored during the flight to Travis Air Force Base where all travelers will be screened again.  Any passengers taken onward to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland will be monitored during that flight as well and screened upon arrival in Texas."

As for when they do get off the ship, the couple said they will "go straight to Whataburger." They also plan to accept the refund for their cruise and take Princess Cruises' offer for a free future trip.

For the latest information on the coronavirus outbreak, visit CDC's Novel Coronavirus 2019 website.

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