President Trump was more than furious he found out that 14 Americans infected with the coronavirus returned back to the U.S. without his permission instead of remaining in quarantine overseas.
Trump had been informed that the healthy U.S. passengers that have spent weeks in quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan would be allowed to fly home on two charted planes, while those who are sick or infected would stay in Japan to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
According to the Washington Post, the president became “furious” with senior advisers after he found out the 14 Americans who tested positive had been put on the same plane with health passengers. One official told the paper that the failure to inform Trump of the decision in advance of the plane’s departure was a “big operational mistake.”
Trump complained that bringing home the infected Americans could damage the adminstratration’s response to the global health outbreak.
While the Americans evacuated from the ship were on buses on the tarmac in Tokyo, U.S. officials got the results back that 14 had tested positive for COVID-19 but had not yet shown symptoms. Officials made the decision to have them fly home anyway, but “isolated” from the other passengers on the plane.
“These individuals were moved in the most expeditious and safe manner to a specialized containment area on the evacuation aircraft to isolate them in accordance with standard protocol,” the State Department and Department of Health and Human Services said in a joint statement Monday.
“After consultation with HHS officials … the State Department made the decision to allow the 14 individuals, who were in isolation, separated from other passengers, and continued to be asymptomatic, to remain on the aircraft to complete the evacuation process.”
The viral outbreak that began in China has now spread to nearly 78,000 people globally, including 76,288 in mainland China.
Here are the latest figures for the number of people who have contracted COVID-19:
— Mainland China: 2,345 deaths among 76,288 cases, mostly in the central province of Hubei
— Hong Kong: 69 cases, 2 deaths
— Macao: 10 cases
— Japan: 754 cases, including 634 from the cruise ship docked in Yokohama, 3 deaths
— South Korea: 433 cases, 2 deaths
— Singapore: 89 cases
— United States: 35 cases; separately, 1 U.S. citizen died in China
— Thailand: 35 cases
— Iran: 28 cases, 5 deaths
— Taiwan: 26 cases, 1 death
— Australia: 23 cases
— Malaysia: 22
— Italy: 19 cases; 1 death
— Vietnam: 16 cases
— Germany: 16
— France: 12 cases, 1 death
— United Arab Emirates: 11 cases
— United Kingdom: 9
— Canada: 9
— Philippines: 3 cases, 1 death
— India: 3 cases
— Russia: 2
— Spain: 2
— Lebanon: 1
— Israel: 1
— Belgium: 1
— Nepal: 1
— Sri Lanka: 1
— Sweden: 1
— Cambodia: 1
— Finland: 1
— Egypt: 1