(CNN)An American who was evacuated on US-chartered jet from a cruise ship docked in Japan told CNN that she wasn’t aware that other passengers on the plane had tested positive for novel coronavirus until they landed.
Sarah Arana was one of more than 300 US citizens evacuated from the Diamond Princess over the weekend and flown to the states following the outbreak of coronavirus on the ship, which is docked off the Japanese port city of Yokohama.
Fourteen passengers from the Diamond Princess had tested positive for coronavirus before they boarded evacuation flights, the US departments of State and Health and Human Services said in a joint statement early Monday, while two flights carrying the evacuees were en route to US military bases in California and Texas.
Arana told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on “Erin Burnett OutFront” Monday night that she didn’t know that passengers on her flight had tested positive until she landed.
“I didn’t hear a single word about that until I literally heard it on the news when we landed,” Arana said. “It was widely being reported everywhere else and we were never informed about that.”
But Arana felt she was in good hands while on the evacuation flight and when she landed on US soil.
“On the plane we were with specialists … very knowledgeable doctors and CDC professionals,” she said. “I have no doubt that they did everything with extreme caution.”
She felt much more at risk while on the ship without information and specialists, she told Bolduan.
“I’m not worried about being exposed on the plane,” Arana said. “Those are fellow Americans of ours, they deserve to come home.”
While the evacuees have returned to the US, they are not going home just yet.
The 14 passengers who tested positive are now being treated in various locations around the United States.
Four of the seven who arrived at Travis Air Force base in California were taken to health care facilities near the base, said Dr. William Walters of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Medical Services.
The other three, along with their spouses, were transported to the University of Nebraska Medical Center. They were joined there by the other seven passengers who tested positive and had initially arrived at Lackland Air Force base in Texas, Walters said.
The Diamond Princess evacuees who haven’t been infected will still undergo a 14-day quarantine.