American passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship who were evacuated after being exposed to coronavirus will be quarantined here in Alabama at a FEMA facility in Anniston, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Saturday.

The British cruise ship was in Japan when many of its passengers became ill with the very contagious and sometimes deadly Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The US government evacuated all American passengers from the cruise ship, and those who have tested positive for the virus are to be quarantined at the FEMA Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston.

None of the evacuated American passengers are showing symptoms of the disease, and the HHS said any cases that become serious will be moved to pre-determined hospitals for further treatment.

"The passengers who will stay at the Center tested positive for COVID-19, although at this time they either do not have symptoms or have mild flu-like symptoms. Any of the evacuees who become seriously ill will be transported to pre-identified hospitals for medical care. Under the HHS-FEMA agreement, the Center for Domestic Preparedness will provide the housing, and HHS will provide basic medical care and all other support services for these returning passengers. Passengers will stay in a separate area from the Center’s training participants and will remain at the Center until they are medically cleared.

The Center has unique facilities and routinely offers week-long, hands-on training for large groups of professionals from federal, state and local emergency management agencies, hospitals, public health agencies, and law enforcement agencies on disaster response."

Stay tuned to this site and station for more information on the quarantine as it becomes available.

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