The State Department's plan to evacuate the nearly 400 Americans quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan makes "perfect medical sense," Fox News medical correspondent Dr. Marc Siegel said Sunday.
"I want to applaud the administration and President Trump for evacuating close to 400 passengers," Siegel told "Fox & Friends Weekend."
About 380 Americans were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which has docked at Yokohama, a port city southwest of Tokyo. Passengers and crew were subjected to a 14-day quarantine aboard the ship that's expected to end Wednesday.
So far, more than 280 people from the ship, including 46 Americans, have tested positive for the coronavirus that began in China, after doctors found 67 new cases Saturday.
On Saturday, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo sent a letter to American citizens aboard the ship informing them the State Department was sending chartered flights to take them to the United States; the flights left Tokyo on Monday.
Passengers who opted to take the chartered aircraft will be subjected to a second 14-day quarantine in the United States at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Calif., or Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas, officials said, adding that no symptomatic or infected passengers would be allowed to board the flights.
"Theoretically," Siegel said, "this quarantine could have worked with everyone isolated in their rooms, but it didn’t work, and not only that, some of the people who have medical conditions are frail and elderly. And so, the idea of airlifting them home and then imposing another two weeks of quarantine makes perfect medical sense."
Siegel credited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for containing the new virus with just 15 reported cases in the U.S. to date.
He added that he predicted a far larger number of infected cases than what Chinese officials have reported officially.
"I want our viewers to follow this, to get the information from us," Siegel said, "but at the same time, be able to realize that our own leaders are doing a good job protecting us and that right now, the coronavirus is not really here."
He continued, "The 15 cases have been isolated. You're not going to get it walking down the street... so we're being protected and we don't need to jump to worst-case scenarios. That doesn't help the situation, and it is not effective. What is working is the public health mandates that we're seeing here in the U.S. so far. We also have got to get CDC over there."
Siegel added, "We have to help the situation in China to be controlled better than it is."
Fox News Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.