Watch CBS News

live updates

U.S. evacuating Americans stuck on quarantined cruise ship

get the free app
  • link copied
More than 40 Americans on quarantined cruise ship test positive for coronavirus 05:23

The United States is starting to bring Americans home from a cruise ship that's been quarantined in Japan. Outside of China, the Diamond Princess is the site of the biggest coronavirus outbreak, with over 300 people infected, including "more than 40" Americans, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health told "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

The ship has been in the port city of Yokohama for well over a week now.

Those looking to take the charter flight to the U.S. on Sunday will undergo a health screening before boarding, and symptomatic passengers will not be allowed to board, the U.S. Embassy in Japan said. Passengers will be taken to Travis Air Force Base in California and some will continue on to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

A passenger is seen on a balcony of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama on February 14, 2020. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images

The virus has infected tens of thousands of people around the world, most of them in mainland China. More than 1,600 people have died from the virus, which has spread to more than two dozen countries.

On Saturday, France's health minister announced the first death from the novel coronavirus in Europe. The patient was an 80-year-old Chinese tourist who arrived in France in mid-January and was hospitalized later that month with a lung infection, according to French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn.

There are 15 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S., but none are said to be suffering serious symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is setting up five labs around the country where people with flu-like symptoms can be tested for coronavirus if their flu results are negative. 


China reports 105 more deaths Sunday

Chinese authorities announced 105 more deaths Sunday, 100 of which were in Hubei province. An additional 2,048 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus were also reported. 

The global death toll is 1,770, according to the World Health Organization. W.H.O also reports at least 53,790 confirmed cases worldwide.

By Jordan Freiman

Flights carrying cruise ship passengers back to U.S. depart from Japan

Two charter flights carrying American passengers who were quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship have departed from Japan and are headed to the U.S., a spokesperson for the State Department said Sunday.

"All travelers on these flights were screened for symptoms prior to departure and will be subject to Centers for Diseases Control screening, health observation and monitoring requirements. Only those who were asymptomatic were allowed to board the flights," the State Department added. 

One of the planes will land at Kelly Field/Lackland Air Force Base in Texas and the other will land at Travis Air Force Base in California. All passengers will be placed in quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

By Jordan Freiman

More than 40 Americans on quarantined cruise ship test positive for coronavirus, top U.S. official says

A top U.S. health official said Sunday that more than 40 Americans aboard a quarantined cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for the coronavirus.
"Forty of them have gotten infected," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said on "Face the Nation," referring to passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship. "They are not going to go anywhere. They're going to be in hospitals in Japan."
The Diamond Princess has been in the port city of Yokohama for more than a week with passengers aboard the ship under mandatory quarantine. The quarantine is scheduled to end February 19, but the U.S. will begin evacuating some Americans earlier.  

By Melissa Quinn

70 more people infected on cruise ship docked off the coast of Japan

Another 70 people on the Diamond Princess cruise ship were infected with the novel coronavirus, Japan's health minister, Katsunobu Kato, said Saturday, according to The Associated Press. A total of 355 confirmed cases have been reported from the quarantined ship.

The United States, Canada and Hong Kong are all arranging chartered flights to bring citizens trapped on the ship or receiving treatment in Japanese hospitals home.

By Jordan Freiman

Woman quarantined in Nebraska tests negative for coronavirus

A woman being quarantined at Camp Ashland in Nebraska tested negative for coronavirus, Nebraska Medicine announced Saturday. The woman will be released from the hospital and return to quarantine at the military base, where 56 others are being monitored. 

"If everyone at Camp Ashland remains without symptoms, the group will leave quarantine at 9:00 a.m. February 20," the hospital said in a statement.

By Jordan Freiman

China announces 139 new deaths

China's Hubei province announced 139 more deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the death toll in China to at least 1,663. Another 955 cases were also confirmed, bringing the total global number of confirmed cases to at least 51,535.

By Jordan Freiman

Toyota to resume business operations in China next week

Toyota is set to begin reopening manufacturing plants in China, the company announced Saturday.

"Starting the week of February 17, we will begin a step-by-step process to gradually resume business operations at our manufacturing plants in China," the car manufacturer said in a statement. "We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and make decisions following the direction of local and regional governments. Normal operations will resume once it is deemed safe and appropriate."

Honda has already restarted production at several plants in China, and plans to resume operations in several more beginning the week of February 17 as well. Honda also stated, "Wuhan factories will return to work on February 21, and are expected to resume production the week of February 24.

Nissan hopes to resume production next week as well.

— Reporting by Kathryn Krupnik

By Jordan Freiman

CDC will support effort to return Diamond Princess passengers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday released a statement detailing the repatriation of American passengers onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship that has been quarantined in Japan for over a week.

"The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is supporting the Department of State-led mission to repatriate U.S. citizens who want to return to the United States from Japan, currently aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship," the CDC said in a statement.

"To fulfill our responsibilities to U.S. citizens, as well as to reduce the burden on the Japanese health care system, the U.S. government recommends that U.S. citizens disembark and return to the United States for further monitoring."

Americans returning to the U.S. will be subject to a 14-day quarantine at either Travis Air Force Base in California, or the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas, according to the CDC.

"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."

By Audrey McNamara

Passengers on quarantined cruise ship mostly confined to their cabins

Passengers onboard a cruise ship that's quarantined in Japan have been confined to their cabins with only the occasional stroll allowed on deck, CBS News foreign correspondent Debora Patta reports. Many of them are battling boredom.

One passenger told Patta she'd received an email from the American embassy in Japan offering her a seat on a chartered U.S. plane that's scheduled to bring Americans from the ship home on Sunday.
Outside of China, the Diamond Princess ship is the site of the biggest coronavirus outbreak, with it's over 200 infections, including more than a dozen Americans.
Patta reports that around 380 Americans could be evacuated from the Diamond Princess.

Coronavirus-quarantined cruise passengers battle illness, boredom 02:04

Pangolins put at risk by coronavirus connection

The gentle pangolin – the only mammal known to have scales – has largely lived in obscurity, Tom Hanson reported for "CBS This Morning: Saturday." But, after a group of Chinese scientists recently labeled them as the potential transmitter of the novel coronavirus, that may change.

According to Bill Zeigler, senior vice president for Animal Programs at the Chicago Zoological Society Brookfield Zoo, what the scientists found was "very similar" to the virus that has spread in Wuhan, China. But their research has not been vetted or peer reviewed. 

Zeigler said that wild pangolins pose no threat to humans.

The anteater-like animals are prized for their meat and unique scales, which are believed to have medicinal value. Heavy poaching has earned them the title as the "most trafficked mammals on the planet."

The scientist's discovery may put the endangered pangolin at even greater risk, according to Zeigler.

"My concern is, if we don't word it right and people become afraid of pangolins, they may go out and if they find a pangolin in the wild ... they would kill it anyway because they're afraid of it," he said.

Pangolins could face greater threat due to coronavirus fears 03:06

San Diego declares local emergency to "confront and contain" coronavirus

San Diego County in California has declared a state of "local emergency" and a "public health emergency" due to the coronavirus. They will remain in effect for seven days. 

Local officials, however, emphasized the declarations do not signify an increase in risk to the public, and said they were made "out of an abundance of caution."

"This action best equips us to be in the strongest position to coordinate efforts, ensure access to available supplies and best protect public health," San Diego County supervisor Nathan Fletcher said at a Friday press conference.

"We are doing this to best position our county (to) contain and confront the novel coronavirus," he said.  

Two American evacuees who arrived in San Diego from Wuhan, China, last week have since tested positive for the virus. The two were first quarantined at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego, along with more than 200 other evacuees, and then sent to the University of California San Diego Health Center for treatment, according to CBS affiliate KFMB.

Five other people are currently being evaluated at the hospital, KFMB reports. 

By Audrey McNamara

U.S. Embassy: Americans aboard quarantined ship to fly home

The U.S. Embassy in Japan said Americans aboard a quarantined cruise ship will be flown back home on a chartered flight Sunday. 

The Diamond Princess cruise ship, which has docked at the port city of Yokohama, is carrying about 380 Americans. So far, 218 people from the ship have tested positive for coronavirus.

People will be flown to Travis Air Force Base in California, with some passengers continuing to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, the embassy said in a letter to passengers and crew that was posted online Saturday. After arriving in the U.S., all will need to go through another two weeks of quarantine.

Everyone will get a checkup before being allowed on the chartered flight, and those with symptoms of sickness will not be allowed to board, the embassy said. 

Japan's Health Ministry allowed 11 passengers to disembark Friday, saying that those above 80, with underlying medical conditions as well as those staying in windowless cabins during the 14-day quarantine can stay at a designated facility on shore.

— The Associated Press


Scientists ramp up search for coronavirus vaccine

The CDC is ramping up its own response to the epidemic by setting up five labs around the U.S. where people with flu-like symptoms can now be tested for coronavirus if their flu results are negative. This comes as scientists around the world race to develop a vaccine.

Inovio pharmaceuticals has already successfully developed vaccines for Ebola and Zika. CBS News spoke with Kate Broderick, the company's senior vice president of research and development.

"So you're using DNA and genetics to teach the body how to attack the virus?" CBS News asked.

"Exactly, and to recognize the virus and then attack it immediately," Broderick said, adding that the vaccine they are working on is showing promise.

"It's currently being tested in the lab literally as we speak, and we're manufacturing large scale quantities of it to get into human testing by the early summer," she added.

By Carter Evans

Apple reopening stores in Beijing and Shanghai

Apple is reopening some of its stores in China after they were closed for about two weeks. The company confirmed to CBS News that one of its seven stores in Shanghai will reopen on Saturday.

On Friday, all five Apple Stores in Beijing reopened with reduced hours, the Reuters news agency reported. Customers are being asked to wear a face mask and allow for their temperature to be taken.

Apple announced the temporary closure of all of its stores in China at the beginning of the month.

By Alex Sundby

Bullies attack Asian-American teen, accusing him of having coronavirus

A 16-year-old boy in Southern California was physically attacked this week by bullies in his high school who accused him of having coronavirus — simply because he is Asian-American.

"He went to the hospital originally and went to the emergency room," Robin Toma, the executive director of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, said in a joint news conference with officials on Thursday. "They were taking MRIs to ensure he didn't have a concussion or other harm."

According to CBS Los Angeles, officials released neither the name of the student's school nor any further details of the attack, noting only that Los Angeles police are now investigating.

"Our goal is to send out accurate information to all of our 80 districts, reaching over two million children," said Debra Duardo, Los Angeles County superintendent of schools. "To tell them that there is no need for excessive fear, that there is very minimal risk of contracting the coronavirus and that we will not tolerate any type of bullying."

By Christina Capatides

Coronavirus spreads to Africa with Egypt reporting first confirmed case

Authorities in Egypt reported the country's first coronavirus case Friday, CBS News' Ahmed Shawkat reports from Cairo. The case marks the first confirmed case of the disease in Africa.

Egypt's health ministry said in a statement the patient was in stable condition and didn't have any symptoms. The patient wasn't an Egyptian citizen, and the ministry didn't provide the patient's nationality.

The ministry said it found the patient by following up with people who have arrived from countries with recorded infections of the disease. The diagnosis was confirmed with laboratory tests.

The patient was in isolation at a hospital, the ministry said. It didn't provide any other details about the patient, including where the patient was being treated.

People who have been in contact with the patient have tested negative for the disease and will be under quarantine in their homes for 14 days, the ministry said.

By Alex Sundby
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.