Earlier this month, Diamond Princess, a cruise ship with many American passengers, including some of my constituents, was placed under quarantine by Japanese officials after passengers onboard came down with Coronavirus.
My office has been in touch with and reached out to the constituents and their representatives. We have also been in touch with cruise representatives and federal officials on this matter.
On Thursday, several of my colleagues and I sent a letter to Secretaries Azar, Pompeo and Wolf. Despite best attempts by cruise personnel, we were concerned about deteriorating conditions on the boat, effectiveness of quarantine conditions, medical information flow and accounts that indicated there is limited medical expertise on the ship. We sent this letter to raise these concerns and ask about moving, particularly the U.S. citizens who test negative, to a U.S. facility to protect their health and well-being.
Late Friday, we received word from federal officials that the Department of State would be evacuating American citizens on the ship to the United States. They will still be subject to quarantine and will be housed at existing federal facilities in the U.S. The passengers will be quarantined 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.
My office will continue to monitor the situation, engage with federal officials, share information and follow-up as needed.
Congressmen Daniel Webster represents The Villages in the U.S. House of Representatives.