Leaders: Cruise passengers won’t come to Anniston

Leaders: Cruise passengers won’t come to Anniston

By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News

Alabama’s state and federal political leaders confirmed Sunday that a Department of Homeland Security facility in Anniston will not be used to quarantine passengers from a cruise ship known to have been home to the spread of COVID-19, better known as the Coronavirus.

News broke over the weekend that the Federal Emergency Management Agency Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston would be considered to house passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Some Americans with the virus who were on the cruise ship were evacuated to the U.S. from Japan, the Associated Press reported.

However, by Sunday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, Gov. Kay Ivey, and Congressman Mike Rogers each posted on Twitter that they had spoken to President Donald Trump and he had assured them no Coronavirus patients would be brought to Alabama.

“I just got off the phone with the President. He told me that his administration will not be sending any victims of the Coronavirus from the Diamond Princess cruise ship to Anniston, Alabama,” Shelby said via Twitter.

Rogers, who represents the Anniston area in Congress, also said he had spoken to the president and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar

Earlier in the day Sunday, Ivey’s office clarified early reports that the passengers were definitely coming to Anniston, saying the facility was only meant as a back up if other facilities became filled. By Sunday afternoon, Ivey had also spoken to President Trump. She said Alabamians “want to help our fellow Americans, but this wasn’t fully vetted.”

The vast majority of virus cases are in China. COVID-19 has infected tens of thousands of people and caused more than 2,000 deaths in that country. Cases have also been reported in more than a dozen other nations, the AP reported.