(WJHL) – Two weeks after testing positive for coronavirus and being forced to stay on a poorly quarantined cruise ship off the coast of Japan, Jeanie Hopland of Elizabethton has been released from a military hospital and is waiting at a hotel near the Tokyo airport for a flight back home.
She and her husband, Dr. Arnold Hopland, have been stranded in Japan for weeks, caught up in what’s turned out to be a nightmare scenario that began with a dream vacation and ended with a coronavirus outbreak. That outbreak is now prompting Japanese officials to take drastic action.
News Channel 11’s Josh Smith has been touching base with the Hoplands every day and has been following the latest developments in this story. He’s been told that Jeanie Hopland has endured a rollercoaster of emotions that began when she tested positive for the virus and found out about it minutes before she was set to board an evacuation flight to the United States.
She later tested negative in a Tokyo hospital and then tested positive. Finally, two negative tests cleared her for discharge from the hospital. Through all of that, she never exhibited any symptoms.
However, Dr. Hopland remains in quarantine at a Japanese university two hours outside Tokyo. “I can’t tell you how relieved I am that she’s about to get out of here,” he said from his dormitory room where he spent the past week without seeing a single person.
Dr. Hopland has never tested positive for the virus, but his mere presence on the ship means he must remain in quarantine for 14 days after leaving the boat by order of the Japanese government.
He expects to be able to be eligible for departure from Japan possibly on March 7. For now, he says he is in contact with Congressman Phil Roe as well as Bill Hagerty, the candidate for United States Senate from Tennessee and former ambassador to Japan.
“I continue to be overwhelmed by the kindness of friends,” he said, insisting that he needed nothing and that he was spending his time in seclusion advocating by phone and email for swift action to stop the spread of the virus.
“Since finding out Jeanie was in the clear and on our way home, I’ve slept better than I’ve slept in years,” he said.