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Hopland said it could be April before he gets home from quarantine

John Thompson • Updated Feb 20, 2020 at 10:29 AM

ELIZABETHTON — Elizabethton physician Arnold Hopland said he could be facing a series of quarantines that could prevent him from getting home until April.

The quarantine of the passengers of Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama has been especially frustrating for the medical professional because Hopland said he sees the mistakes and poorly thought-out procedures of both Japan and the United States in protecting the public from the coronavirus.

He said it is still continuing with the latest possible change in his timetable to return to the United States.

He said most of the passengers on the ship are due to be released from quarantine after 14 days. He said a new wrinkle is that those passengers who had a cabin mate who tested positive for coronavirus would be required to be quarantined for another 14 days. He said he might then have to wait another 14 days after entering the United States.

Meanwhile, his wife, Jeanie, remains in a Tokyo hospital, where she was evacuated after she tested positive for the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. Since then she has had a negative result on a swab, taken a few days ago.

A second negative result could mean that she would be released from the hospital, but the labs in Japan are not able to keep up with the demands for coronavirus tests and so she has not been tested again.

Arnold Hopland said he hopes she doesn’t get tested soon, because she at least has a bed in the hospital. If she is found to be free of the virus, he said she would be released from the hospital, but could not return to him in the quarantined ship. He has told her to go directly to the U.S. embassy if she is released.

“I have told her to do that and I have told several other passengers to do that.” He said the embassy is sovereign territory, so she can’t be forced to leave by Japan. He said the embassy might try to intimidate her, but he said she should stick to her guns and remain.

The day was also memorable for Hopland because he was interviewed by CNN. He said the best part was that he managed to sneak by the political screens in his criticism of the way the United States and Japan have handled the quarantine.

He said the temperature has risen in both the State Department and the Centers for Disease Control over statements he has made in recent days. He said that doesn’t concern him as what could happen if the virus were to morph into a strain that was much more viral.

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