ELK GROVE, Calif. — American officials are evacuating nearly 400 U.S. citizens who have been quarantined aboard a cruise ship in Japan over concerns of spreading the coronavirus.

However, Matt Smith of Elk Grove, Calif. said he and his wife are critical of how the U.S. has handled the matter and won't be taking part in the voluntary evacuation. 

The couple was vacationing throughout Asia for two weeks before they were quarantined on the ship with more than 3,000 other passengers. At least 285 people aboard the Diamond Princess have tested positive for the new virus.

Like the other passengers, Smith and his wife have been in quarantine for the past 11 days. They have not been allowed to leave their rooms during that time.


“The Princess has treated us very well, taken care of us very well,” Smith said. “They deliver three meals a day to the cabin along with additional snacks and plenty of bottled water.”

Any Americans who voluntarily evacuate will be subject to an additional 14 day quarantine at military bases in the U.S. 

However, Smith is not willing to go through another quarantine. It would mean leaving behind some of his property due to weight restrictions, and he doesn't want to risk getting sick.

Those who decide to stay will not be allowed back in the United States for 14 days after they leave the ship. Smith says he plans to extend his vacation until then.

*An earlier version of this story referred to the ship as a Japanese cruise ship. The language has been revised to reflect that the cruise ship is in Japan.


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