Flying 27,000 feet above the Pacific, hundreds of American evacuees from the Diamond Princess coronavirus cruise ship sped toward the U.S. on State Department charter flights late on Sunday night.
Two planes filled with the coronavirus evacuees are set to land on American soil in the early hours of Monday, one at Travis AFB in California and one at Kelly AFB in Texas.
After remaining in isolation aboard the Diamond Princess since the beginning of the ship's outbreak on February 3, the weary evacuees will spend another 14 days under military quarantine at the two bases, which are among 11 designated by the Pentagon for isolation of potential coronavirus cases.
Taking no chances, U.S. officials installed what appeared to be portable bio-containment units on board the two windowless 747 cargo jets.
The 44 Americans from the Diamond Princess who tested positive for coronavirus were required to remain in Japan for treatment, and it's possible the isolation units were in place to quarantine any passenger who became symptomatic during the nine to twelve hour flights.
Taking no chances, U.S. officials installed what appeared to be portable bio-containment units on board the two windowless 747 cargo jets that are evacuating Americans from the Diamond Princess in Japan
It is believed the isolation units were in place to quarantine any passenger who became symptomatic during the flights
Nearly 400 Americans decided to abandon ship and take the government charter flights back to the US, where they will be under additional quarantine on two military bases for another 14 days
Passengers who were aboard the quarantined cruise ship the Diamond Princess prepare to get on an airplane chartered by the U.S. government at Haneda Airport in Tokyo Monday
The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the transport and care of patients under coronavirus quarantine, did not immediately respond to an inquiry from DailyMail.com about the purpose of the units.
'On cargo plane. You cannot Imagine. Crazy or worst dream ever,' wrote American evacuee Gay Courter on Facebook after boarding one of the flights at Tokyo International Airport.
'Huge windowless B-747 cargo plane with some seats bolted in. Destination unknown at this time,' her husband Philip wrote.
Americans from the Diamond Princess who did not show symptoms were not required to board the evacuation flights, and some refused, furious that they would have to spend another 14 days in military quarantine just as the cruise ship quarantine was set to be lifted on February 19.
'My health is fine. And my two-week quarantine is almost over. Why would I want to be put on a bus and a plane with other people they think may be infected when I have spent nearly two weeks isolated from those people?' tweeted Matt Smith, an American lawyer on the ship with his wife.
He described a fellow American passenger standing on her balcony chanting 'USA, USA' as buses arrived to collect them.
'Of course, in contravention of the rules of quarantine, she's not wearing a face mask, and she's talking with a passenger on the adjacent balcony... And you wanted me to get on a bus with her?'
Buses carrying U.S. passengers who were aboard the quarantined cruise ship the Diamond Princess, seen in background, leaves Yokohama port, near Tokyo, early Monday. The cruise ship was carrying nearly 3,500 passengers and crew members
U.S. passengers from the Diamond Princess are seen on charter buses taking them to Haneda Airport on Monday
A bus carrying U.S. passengers who were aboard the quarantined cruise ship the Diamond Princess arrives at Haneda airport in Tokyo, before the passengers board a Kalitta airplane chartered by the U.S. government
An airplane chartered by the U.S. government takes off at Haneda airport in Tokyo with Americans tourists who were aboard the quarantined cruise ship the Diamond Princess docked at Yokohama
Kalitta Air 585 is seen above the Pacific at 7.45pm PST on Sunday. It is due to land at Travis AFB at 10.47pm PST
Kalitta Air 581 is seen above the Pacific at 7.45pm PST on Sunday, bound