The State Department evacuated 14 Americans suffering from COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, from a cruise ship docked off the coast of Japan despite objections from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Washington Post reports.
Earlier this week, American officials arrived in Japan to extract more than 300 Americans aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which has been quarantined off the coast of Yokohama, Japan since Feb. 3. More than 600 people aboard the ship have contracted COVID-19 since the cruise departed on Jan. 20.
According to The Washington Post, as 14 buses full of American tourists prepared to board a plane back to the United States, Trump administration officials learned that 14 people were infected with COVID-19.
The Post reports that the State Department had already promised that no infected patients would be allowed to board the plane. But they later argued that because the patients were not showing symptoms, they would be safe for them to travel.
However, CDC officials argued that the 14 patients could still spread the disease and should not be allowed on the plane.
Ultimately, the 14 infected patients were allowed to board. According to The Post, CDC officials demanded they not be quoted in a news release announcing the return of the passengers.
According to Gizmodo, the infected patients were placed in a special area of the plane that was separated by plastic sheets.
Some passengers on the plane told The Washington Post that they had no idea they were flying with infected patients.
All passengers that have returned from the Diamond Princess are currently under quarantine at Travis Air Force Base in California, University of Nerbaska Medical Center and Lackland Air Force Base where they will remain for two weeks.
Earlier this week, two people aboard the Diamond Princess died of COVID-19.