SAN ANTONIO – Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers being held at Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland in quarantine for coronavirus almost had a way out of San Antonio. That is, until the plan fell through after a U.S. senator took his concerns to President Donald Trump and U.S. health officials, according to a recent report from San Antonio Express-News.
The newspaper reported that Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff was in favor of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s plan to transport some of the passengers to quarantine facilities in Anniston, Ala.
However, that wasn’t the case for U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama.
The senator expressed his concerns on the transport with U.S. health officials and spoke with President Donald Trump over the phone, ultimately resulting in the plan falling through, per the Express-News.
Shelby later took to Twitter and said both he and President Trump had played a part in keeping Alabamians safe after preventing the transport.
I just got off the phone with the President. He told me that his administration will not be sending any victims of the Coronavirus from the Diamond Princess cruise ship to Anniston, Alabama. Thank you, @POTUS, for working with us to ensure the safety of all Alabamians.— Richard Shelby (@SenShelby) February 23, 2020
A total of 145 people remain under quarantine orders in San Antonio after two planes — one from Wuhan and one from Tokyo — arrived at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland.
Officials say 90 people from the Wuhan plane were released after clearing quarantine without contracting the virus.
According to the Texas Center for Infection Disease, at least five people tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus after being brought to JBSA-Lackland.
However, more than 18 people have been transferred off the base so far, either to TCID or local hospitals after showing symptoms of the virus or while waiting for test results.
It’s currently unclear how many of the 18 people are at TCID, according to a previous KSAT12 report.
Express-News reports Wolff and Mayor Ron Nirenberg wrote a letter on Monday to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, asking for the suspected coronavirus patients to stay at Lackland during the quarantine process. However, Esper hasn’t yet responded to the letter as of yet.
We’ll bring more updates as they become available.
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