Diamond Princess evacuees to be released from coronavirus quarantine at Lackland Tuesday

More than 120 evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship will be released from quarantine Tuesday through a modified protocol.

The evacuees were scheduled to be released Monday before San Antonio officials declared a local public health emergency, then went to court and unsuccessfully sought a temporary restraining order to stop the federal government from lifting the quarantine.

The CDC modified its protocol after the mistaken release of an evacuee who still had the coronavirus in her system. Now, only individuals who have been symptom-free for the full 14-day quarantine period will be released.

Individuals who previously had symptoms will only be released if they have two sequential negative tests within 24 hours, according to a city spokesperson. Evacuees will not be released if there are pending test results.

The officials did not specify what time the releases will begin. Some of the evacuees are being bused directly to the San Antonio International Airport in small groups based on their flight times.

READ MORE: San Antonio, Bexar County in battle with the CDC over evacuees

“I’m pleased that the CDC has made changes, and I’m comfortable that the plan as presented will minimize the risk of exposure,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “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.”

Evacuees will be transported from Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland to San Antonio International Airport in shifts. Airport representatives will meet the groups upon arrival and take them to ticket counters and through security.

Texas residents who requested rental cars to drive home will be transported on the same buses from Lackland to the airport, where rental cars will be arranged.

Assistant City Manager Colleen Bridger noted the evacuees set to be released showed no symptoms over the 14-day quarantine.

“We owe it to our fellow Americans not to stigmatize them and allow them to go back to their homes and families,” said Bridger.

Passengers who tested positive for coronavirus remain in isolation and are not being released Tuesday.

Mark Dunphy is a breaking news reporter and general assignment writer. Read him on our breaking news site, MySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com | [email protected] | @m_b_dunphy

Leave a Reply