FAIRFIELD, Calif. -- Two charter flights carrying passengers from a cruise ship that was quarantined in Japan amid a virus crisis have landed in the United States.
The first plane carrying American passengers landed at a Northern California air force base just before midnight Sunday. A second flight touched down at a San Antonio air force base around 2 1/2 hours later, early Monday.
Passengers will be quarantined for two weeks to make sure they don't have the new virus that's been spreading in Asia. Japan's defense minister tweeted earlier that Japanese troops helped transport 340 U.S. passengers from the port to Tokyo's airport.
About 380 Americans were on the cruise ship.
A group of Americans is cutting short a 14-day quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, to be whisked back to America.
But, they will have to spend another quarantine period at U.S. military facilities like Travis Air Force Base to make sure they don't have the coronavirus that's been sweeping across Asia.
The U.S. Embassy says Washington is flying chartered planes to Japan to evacuate Americans because the passengers are now at a high risk of exposure to the virus.
"In support of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Defense (DOD) is prepared to receive two Department of State-chartered evacuation flights from Japan, carrying passengers evacuated from the cruise ship Diamond Princess, currently docked in Tokyo," said LTC. Chris Mitchell, spokesperson for the Department of Defense.
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Some Americans disembarked Sunday night and boarded buses to take them to the airport. They will be flown to Travis Air Force Base in California, with some continuing to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
Some Americans like Matt Smith of Elk Grove, Calif. and his wife aren't going through with the voluntary evacuation. While they've been quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess like the others, Smith told ABC10 doesn't intend on swapping one quarantine for another.
It would mean leaving behind some of his property due to weight restrictions, and he also doesn't want to risk getting sick.
Over at Travis Air Force Base, evacuees will be screened, monitored, and placed in separate lodging from the current evacuees at the base.
The support and management of the quarantine will be led by Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control.
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