Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tennessee) is working to help East Tennesseans who are currently stuck on a quarantined cruise ship docked in Japan.
The Diamond Princess is being quarantined off Yokohama, and testing began after a man who was on the ship last month later tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus. At least 218 people aboard the ship were confirmed to have been infected so far after 713 were tested.
Among the roughly 3,500 passengers is Dr. Arnold Hopland and his wife from Elizabethton, as well as Chattanooga residents Constance and John Buecker.
Roe said by phone Thursday that he has spoken with Dr. Hopland and the couple is in good health at this time.
"I'm asking personally that we evacuate all the American citizens on there, and we're writing HHS and CDC and NIH and the department of Homeland Security to do this," he said.
Roe said that once the Americans get back to the country, they will have to remain under quarantine for a few days.
If they are unable to secure evacuations for American passengers, the World Health Organization said they will have to wait at least 14 days from last contact with a confirmed case.
As of Thursday, Japan had confirmed 44 new cases on the ship.