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Utahns returning to U.S. soil following coronavirus quarantine on cruise ship in Japan

Posted at 9:34 PM, Feb 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-17 00:19:32-05

FUKUSHIMA, Japan – Hundreds of Americans are on their way back to the United States after concerns of coronavirus prompted a two-week quarantine aboard a cruise ship off the coast of Japan.

Nearly 400 Americans boarded flights back to the U.S. Sunday morning. Among the masses, two Utahns who shared photos and videos of the process -- getting off the cruise ship and getting ready to board one of two flights headed to U.S. Naval bases in either Texas or California.

They have been among the thousands aboard a cruise ship, quarantined off the coast of Japan in Yokohama, since February 3.

Since that time, health officials have confirmed more than 350 cases of Coronavirus on board, including 46 American cases. The number marked the largest concentration of cases outside of mainland China.

Before travelers could start their journey home, passengers were tested This week, travelers underwent in-room testing for COVID-19 -- marking the first and second Utah resident to test positive for the virus.

“I’m healthy, I’m really healthy, it’s just a fever… that’s the only thing that’s keeping me here,” Utah resident Jerri Jorgensen said in a Facebook live video from her hospital room.

Following the news of Jorgensen’s quarantine Saturday, her husband, Mark, and hundreds more geared up to go home.

“The buses are starting to line up,” Utahn Karey Maniscalco said in a video looking down from her room aboard the ship. “They are here to take us away.”

While the cruise ship is behind both Karey and Mark, their journey is far from over.

Once the planes land on U.S. soil, all passengers will be taken to Naval bases for another mandatory, 2-week quarantine.

“Are we for sure going to be quarantined for 14-days?” Maniscalco asked as she boarded the plane.

“Yes,” the man responded.

“I don’t like that answer,” she replied.

The Department of Health and Human Services, alongside the CDC, will monitor all evacuees for symptoms of coronavirus during the duration of their U.S quarantine. If someone starts to show symptoms, they will be moved for further treatment.