At least 44 Americans who were on a now-quarantined cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

Fauci confirmed the number of Americans infected with the disease to TIME and noted that the count was still “in flux” and likely to be “more than that.”

Fauci said in an interview that aired Sunday with CBS News’ Face the Nation that 40 Americans who were traveling on the Diamond Princess “have gotten infected” and are “going to be in hospitals in Japan” as evacuation plans to get Americans on the vessel back home are underway.

“People who have symptoms will not be able to get on the evacuation plane,” Fauci said in the Face the Nation interview. “Others are going to be evacuated starting imminently to Air Force bases in the United States.” He added that anyone who develops symptoms on the plane will be segregated on the flight.

U.S. evacuees will still be subjected to a 14-day quarantine once they are in the U.S. because “the degree of transmissibility on that cruise ship is essentially akin to being in a hot spot,” Fauci explained on Face the Nation.

About 380 Americans are on the cruise ship and Japanese authorities said about 300 of them are preparing to leave, the Associated Press reported.

There are now a total of at least 355 coronavirus cases that have been diagnosed on the ship, according to the AP. The Diamond Princess has been stuck in the Yokohama harbor since Feb. 3, after the cruise company learned a passenger from Hong Kong had tested positive for the new coronavirus after disembarking last month.

Some public health experts worried that the quarantine procedures were not preventing the spread of disease within the ship and may have even posed a risk of spread. Those on board the ship have spoken about the eerie quiet on board as passengers are largely confined to their cabins.

The CDC has so far confirmed 15 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. across California, Washington, Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Texas.

Fauci said in an interview that aired Sunday with CBS News’ Face the Nation that 40 Americans who were traveling on the Diamond Princess “have gotten infected” and are “going to be in hospitals in Japan” as evacuation plans to get Americans on the vessel back home are underway. The Washington Post reports that Fauci told them 44 Americans who were traveling on the ship had tested positive for the disease.

“People who have symptoms will not be able to get on the evacuation plane,” Fauci said in the Face the Nation interview. “Others are going to be evacuated starting imminently to Air Force bases in the United States.” He added that anyone who develops symptoms on the plane will be segregated on the flight.

U.S. evacuees will still be subjected to a 14-day quarantine once they are in the U.S. because “the degree of transmissibility on that cruise ship is essentially akin to being in a hot spot,” Fauci explained on Face the Nation.

About 380 Americans are on the cruise ship and Japanese authorities said about 300 of them are preparing to leave, the Associated Press reported.

There are now a total of at least 355 coronavirus cases that have been diagnosed on the ship, according to the AP. The Diamond Princess has been stuck in the Yokohama harbor since Feb. 3, after the cruise company learned a passenger from Hong Kong had tested positive for the new coronavirus after disembarking last month.

Some public health experts worried that the quarantine procedures were not preventing the spread of disease within the ship and may have even posed a risk of spread. Those on board the ship have spoken about the eerie quiet on board as passengers are largely confined to their cabins.

The CDC has so far confirmed 15 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. across California, Washington, Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Texas.

Original Article