TOKYO (WJHL) — A Tri-Cities woman who earlier tested positive for coronavirus may soon be released from a Japanese hospital.
That’s according to her husband, a Tri-Cities physician who is under quarantine on a cruise ship docked near in Tokyo.
Dr. Arnie Hopland said the most recent throat swab test on his wife Jeanie came back negative for coronavirus. And if she tests negative on a second test, he says it’s possible she’ll be released from a hospital in Tokyo. The second test results are due to come in tomorrow.
“The hospital policy is to release patients from the hospital if they have two negative tests,” Hopland told News Channel 11’s Josh Smith.
Mrs. Hopland tested positive right before the couple was set to board a chartered plane back to the United States on Sunday. That meant she couldn’t get on the plane. Instead, Jeanie Hopland was taken to a hospital along with other passengers who tested positive. Dr. Hopland was told to stay in his room on the ship.
Dr. Hopland said it’s still unclear whether he and his wife will be allowed to leave Japan because of travel restrictions now in place.
“The dilemma this presents is that Jeanie will be discharged from the hospital, unable to return to the ship, and unable to fly back to the United States,” he said Tuesday night.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday night passengers were starting to leave the ship after the end of the quarantine. But Dr. Hopland remains under quarantine because he shared a room with someone who tested positive, he said.
Hopland said he’s reached out to U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Johnson City) for assistance.
Meanwhile, the AP reports scientists now say the quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship has failed. They say the ship actually served as an incubator instead of an isolation facility, something Dr. Hopland suspected from the start.
“As soon as it was announced, I knew it was an absurd plan, that there was no quarantine. We had an interaction between an untrained staff of hotel and restaurant workers who were not in quarantine and a group of ship’s passengers who were in a facility completely unprepared to deal with quarantine measures,” he said
The Hopland’s have said they wanted to be quarantined to help prevent the spread of the virus. Now they hope the United States government will intervene by evacuating citizens and managing quarantines in the U.S.
Dr. Hopland said he and his son Dr. Kenny Hopland are scheduled to be interviewed live on CNN Wednesday around 7:40 a.m.