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The Trump administration acted against Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and loaded an evacuation plane with 328 American passengers, 14 of which had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Washington Post

The American evacuees were passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise, which has been quarantined in Yokohama, Japan since Feb. 5. Over 600 of the 3,700 passengers have tested positive for the virus and the U.S. chartered two Boeing 747 planes to bring Americans from the cruise ship to military bases in California and Texas where they’re being quarantined for 14 days. 

When lab results came back revealing that 14 of the passengers had tested positive for the coronavirus, Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s principal deputy director, recommended that the 14 passengers be taken off the plane and receive medical attention in Japan. 

Robert Kadlec, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Human and Health Services, disagreed with the CDC. Many of the passengers only learned about flying with infected passengers after they landed in the U.S.

The U.S. State Department made the final decision to allow the infected passengers to fly and officials from the CDC asked that the Trump administration leave their names off the press release about the evacuation. 

“CDC did weigh in on this and explicitly recommended against it,” Schuchat wrote in an email to the administration which was shared with the Washington Post. “We should not be mentioned as having been consulted as it begs the question of what was our advice.”

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