Despite the objections of US health officials, the US State Department ultimately decided to evacuate Americans infected with coronavirus on a plane with healthy people, putting them at risk of infection.
The Washington Post reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention argued to keep 14 people infected with the flu-like respiratory illness in Japan, where they were docked with the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship, instead of sending them back to the US and susbsequently doubling the population of infected people in the US and potentially endangering others.
More than 300 Americans were waiting to return home after being quarantined on the ship for weeks. Test results showed that least 14 passengers had the virus. Health officials said that the infected passengers should remain behind, but a last-minute decision from Donald Trump's State Department put the patients on the same plane, the Post reports.
The newspaper quotes one official as saying it was their "worst nightmare".
"Quite frankly, the alternative could have been pulling grandma out in the pouring rain, and that would have been bad, too" the official said.