Taiwan to fly 19 Diamond Princess passengers and crew home on Feb. 21

Returnees will stay at hospital for testing for 14 days

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A passenger disembarking from the Diamond Princess Wednesday Feb. 19. 

A passenger disembarking from the Diamond Princess Wednesday Feb. 19.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A total of 19 Taiwanese passengers and crew of the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess will be flown home on the afternoon of Friday (Feb. 21) for tests and spend 14 days in hospital, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced Wednesday (Feb. 19).

The list does not include five Taiwanese citizens who have been confirmed as Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, though an unclear number of passengers with double nationality will be allowed to board the charter flight if they want to, CNA reported.

The returnee will face 14 days in hospital, during which they will each be tested twice. If the tests turn out negative, they will be transferred to quarantine stations after the initial two-week period, the CECC said.

Officials said the cruise liner counted two Taiwanese crew members, with one having expressed the hope to board Friday’s charter, while the other one wanted to remain on board for a month.

More than 3,700 people were forced to stay on the Diamond Princess for two weeks until Wednesday, but the measure has come under fire for contributing to the more than 500 passengers and crew being confirmed as infected with the coronavirus.