Tennessee woman quarantined in Japan after coronavirus outbreak returns to US


BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Weeks after an Elizabethton woman and her husband were quarantined on a cruise ship and later separated after a positive coronavirus test, the woman returns to the United States and reunites with family and friends.

Jeanie Hopland and her husband, Dr. Arnold Hopland, were among passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan that underwent a novel coronavirus outbreak, resulting in a weeks-long quarantine.

After Jeanie tested positive for coronavirus, she and her husband were separated, with Dr. Hopland remaining quarantined on the ship while Jeanie was sent to a hospital in Tokyo, where she later tested negative for coronavirus twice.

Upon her arrival to Tri-Cities Airport late Sunday night, Jeanie was welcomed home by her sons, family, and friends, who took turns embracing her after weeks of quarantine and uncertainty.

News Channel 11 spoke to Jeanie, who never let a smile escape her face as she was once again surrounded by familiarity and people who waited weeks for her return.

The first thing Jeanie said wasn’t a complaint, but the fact her and Dr. Hopland — before the outbreak and quarantine — “had a wonderful cruise.”

There was one thing Jeanie wished had been better: the communication between U.S. passengers and the U.S. Embassy.

“The communication was the big problem,” Jeanie said. “I would hope that the Embassy would have communicated better. If I had a complaint, I guess that would probably be it.”

The only communication the couple had with the U.S. were a series of emails.

While Jeanie made it back home, Dr. Hopland remains in Japan — still separated from his wife — in a university’s dorm room two hours outside of Tokyo.

SEE ALSO: Tri-Cities woman to be released from hospital in Japan after 2 negative virus tests; preparing to fly home

Dr. Hopland never received a positive test for the coronavirus, but he must remain in quarantine for one more week due to his potential exposure on the cruise ship.

He is eligible to return home on March 7, and he told News Channel 11’s Josh Smith that knowing Jeanie got to return home has helped him sleep better than he has in years.

SEE ALSO: Elizabethton woman quarantined in Japan is released from hospital, awaiting flight back to the U.S.

“He worries about me more than he worries about himself,” Jeanie said of Dr. Hopland. “He’s just happy I’m back home.”

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