Quarantined ship passengers to be released in San Antonio

Posted at 11:59 AM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 12:59:58-05

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — More than 120 passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship were set to be released from quarantine Tuesday in San Antonio, a day after city leaders declared a public health emergency and sought to delay the process so more patient testing could be done.

Leaders in San Antonio wanted additional assurances that none of the patients were positive for the new coronavirus after a woman was mistakenly released from quarantine over the weekend, despite a positive test for the illness.

On Tuesday, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said only passengers who were symptom-free for the entire 14-day quarantine period would be released Tuesday. He also said no one would be released if test results were pending.

The passengers will be taken by bus from Lackland Air Force Base directly to the airport in shifts Tuesday, Nirenberg said.

“I’m pleased that the CDC has made changes, and I’m comfortable that the plan as presented will minimize the risk of exposure,” the mayor said in a statement. “The release will be coordinated, not prolonged over several days, and passengers will not stay in local hotels and will go directly to the airport.”

The patient who was released over the weekend visited a local mall and airport before she was brought back into isolation once the positive test was discovered, city officials said. There have not been any known cases of the illness being transmitted in the community, Nirenberg said.