Mrs. Hopland returns home

John Thompson • Mar 1, 2020 at 8:56 PM

ELIZABETHTON — It has been a very long trip for Jeanie Hopland, but after leaving Japan on Sunday (Tokyo time), crossing the biggest ocean in the world and most of the North American continent, she was scheduled to arrive in the Tri-Cities around midnight Sunday evening or Monday morning.

Jeanie Hopland is finally able to travel again after being in quarantine with the coronavirus onboard the ship Diamond Princess and in a room of a Tokyo hospital.

“I am so relieved that she will soon be home,” said her husband, Dr. Arnold Hopland, an Elizabethton physician who was on the cruise ship with his wife at the time the coronavirus broke out. They were first quarantined together in their cabin on board the ship, but after testing positive on throat swabs, Mrs. Hopland was separated from her husband and placed in a hospital.

Although Mrs. Hopland tested positive for coronavirus, she never became ill and she later tested negative on two further tests. That is when she was released from the hospital and the American embassy in Tokyo removed her name from the restricted travel list. After that, it was only a matter of purchasing an airline ticket to fly halfway around the world.

Dr. Hopland said his wife no longer poses a danger of spreading the virus. “She now has the antibodies,” he said. “She is safer than anyone in East Tennessee from spreading the disease.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Hopland remains in a dormitory room of the National Tax College near Tokyo. He has never tested positive for the disease, but because he came into contact with those who had the virus, he is being held until at least March 7 by Japanese authorities.

But having his wife returning to the United States he said was like “having a 100-pound weight taken off my back.” Being in quarantine himself and separated from his wife while she was testing positive for coronavirus was certainly an ordeal, one he is happy is nearing its conclusion.

Dr. Hopland said his wife’s flight went directly from Tokyo to Dallas-Fort Worth. He said Mrs. Hopland cleared a lengthy customs process in Dallas, then got on the airliner to take her home.

With less to worry about and with most visitors still not allowed, Dr. Hopland said he has plenty of time to finish the book he is writing on his experience with the coronavirus and the quarantine. He said the only interruptions from writing are the frequent telephone calls he receives.

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