Thousands of quarantined passengers may soon be evacuated to land

Aboard the Diamond Princess, teams swabbed more passengers after 44 people were found to have contracted coronavirus.
2:24 | 02/14/20

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Transcript for Thousands of quarantined passengers may soon be evacuated to land
night to the coronavirus emergency. A staggering rise in the number of reported cases. More than 60,000 cases now globally. 254 people dying in just 24 the deadliest day yet. And that cruise ship off Japan. Hundreds of Americans among the passengers, and tonight, there is word that some may soon be allowed off. And we continue to follow here that story of the American couple, the retirees, the husband, whose fever came back, he's now been rushed off the ship and hospitalized. ABC's Maggie Rulli from Japan again tonight. Reporter: Aboard the diamond princess, teams swabbing more passengers today, after 44 more people were infected with the covid-19 virus. You're just waiting on the ship of doom. Reporter: But today, some passengers, thought to be at high risk for the virus, will get a chance to get off the boat and be put into quarantine onshore in Japan. John Haering and his wife watched his temperature spike day after day. I've been sick for about the last three, four days with a fever and headache, nausea. Reporter: He's had to leave her behind now to go to the hospital. He's waiting for test results. All his food passed through this tiny door. Passengers stuck on the ship like Kathy Maniscalco are trying to keep their spirits up and stay healthy. The last couple of days have been really challenging because I've had kidney stones, and so I've been in a lot of pain and it's been almost unmanageable. Reporter: Overnight, a jump in the Chinese case count only fueling uncertainty about the virus's impact. The numbers surging to 60,000 now sickened and over 1,300 killed, after China changed the way it counts infections. Back home, in just the last day, two more people from quarantined bases in San Diego and San Antonio were hospitalized after testing positive for the virus. But for those released this week from quarantine, reunions long overdue. Esther tebeka's children haven't seen their mother in six weeks after her trip home to see her parents in Wuhan. Maggie Rulli with us again tonight. She's at the port in Japan. And Maggie, we're expecting that first group of people to be allowed to get off that ship in the next 24 hours. What have you learned tonight? Reporter: Well, that's the idea, David. And this is supposed to be the first wave. Now they're prioritizing people who are over the age of 80 or have a health issue and have tested negative for the virus. But David, what's important is that this is voluntary and if you choose to leave the boat, you will still have to spend the next six days of your quarantine here onshore. David? Can't imagine the nightmare for these passengers. Maggie, thank you. And back here at home, the

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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