The Irving newlyweds who spent nearly two weeks in quarantine aboard the Diamond Princess cruise are back in Texas.
Rachel and Tyler Torres arrived in the United States Monday on one of two chartered cargo planes used to evacuate Americans from the coronavirus-infected ship, which was docked in Japan.
Despite spending days on end in a tiny cruise ship state room, the couple said their flight back was the most challenging part of the last month.
“It was an old 747 that was hollowed out. It was a cargo plane,” Tyler Torres said.
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They described the plane as crammed and windowless with heavily-suited doctors, port-a-potties and isolation chambers for those who tested positive for the virus.
“In the plane they had… it was kind of like trash bags that were lined like a big box up to the roof and they were taping that shut and having people sit inside,” Tyler said.
When they first got off the warm plane, Rachel said she was running a low grade fever.
“I got to sit there. I had 6 doctors and a CDC official kind of staring at me trying to figure out what to do. But because it was very low grade and I didn’t have any symptoms, they decided to just go ahead and let us come stay on base,” Rachel said.
Thankfully, they were able to go on to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
“It’s a little bit comforting to be only 250 miles from home instead 6,500 miles away from home,” Tyler said.
As they begin their second 14-day stretch in quarantine, they’re still not sure when or if they’ll be allowed to leave their room. But closer to home, they’ve already received a care package and said meals were an upgrade compared to those they received on the ship.
They said employees with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention come around twice a day to check temperatures as the virus remains a threat.
“We’ve had three new people test positive today on base, so we’ll just keep seeing how that number… hopefully it will keep going down rather than up,” Rachel said.
They’re also hopeful they’ll be headed home sooner rather than later as they wait to learn exactly when they’ll be released.