SALT LAKE CITY — From an isolation room in Japan’s Chiba Hospital where he is battling pneumonia, Tooele resident John Haering sent an email begging for help to both the cruise line that quarantined him after passengers were exposed to coronavirus and the U.S. Embassy in Japan.

“I have verified that I’m on your contact list of people who are in hospitals off the Diamond Princess,” he wrote to both Princess Cruises and U.S. Embassy officials Thursday. “I have verified I have tested positive for COVID-19. My wife and friend have reached out to the embassy on my behalf, and yet still to this date, I have received one phone call from the embassy and have heard nothing from the Princess Cruise line since being pulled off the ship and sent to hospital in Chiba without even being tested to see if I had the coronavirus,” he wrote.

“I’m a U.S. citizen who should have some rights and I don’t think it is too much to ask for some communication from the U.S. embassy in Japan or from the cruise line I entrusted with my safety and the safety of my wife.”

The U.S. Embassy in Japan posted a link to a letter on its webpage that said a letter was sent to “U.S. citizens from the Diamond Princess who tested positive for COVID-19.” That letter, dated Feb. 20, outlines what medical requirements must be met before patients can return to the U.S., as well as what documents citizens must complete in order to get permission from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to return home.

“For those who have previously tested positive, the above information provided by your Japanese medical provider must meet these criteria before you will be allowed to travel to the United States,” the letter warns. “You will not be cleared to travel simply by waiting 14 days.”

Haering was sick for nearly three days before medical personnel took him from the cabin where he and his wife had been quarantined since Feb. 5. He was tested after arriving at the hospital, and later confirmed to have the novel coronavirus. He and another Utahn, St. George resident Jerri Jorgensen, who was confirmed to have the virus about 48 hours later, remained in the hospital in Chiba, Japan, while their spouses left on a plane chartered by the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Department of State.

Their spouses, Mark Jorgensen and Melanie Haering, are now quarantined at U.S. military bases for another 14 days. Melanie Haering posted a copy of her husband’s email on Facebook, begging friends to share, and she sent it to the Deseret News early Thursday.

“My husband is very frustrated,” she wrote. “He’s so stressed, which isn’t good for his health.”

Haering said he had not received the information the U.S. Embassy in Japan says it has sent to every U.S. citizen still hospitalized or quarantined from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

“Now I read that you sent out instructions to all individuals who have tested positive for this virus,” he wrote, “No you did not. I tested positive and have no email or other correspondence was sent to me. Furthermore, I have still not heard a word by voice, email, text or any other form of communication from carnival cruises or it’s subsidiary since I left the ship forcefully on February 13th. Is this how we are going to treat those infected on your Cruise ship? I’m not impressed; I’m not going to sit and be thrown to a hospital, with no notification to my family. ... I have as my doctor described it bad pneumonia. I’m fighting each day to stay positive and healthy. I don’t need the uncertainty of what will happen to me weighing on my thoughts. Please I beg you, make sure you communicate.”

Contacted about Haering’s email, a State Department official said the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens is “one of the highest priorities of the Department of State, and we are prepared to provide all appropriate consular assistance to U.S. citizens remaining in Japan. This includes U.S. Embassy Tokyo consular officers visiting U.S. citizens who have been hospitalized from the Diamond PrincessDue to privacy considerations, we do not comment on individual cases.”

Haering’s email asked a long list of questions, including about the process for him to leave the hospital, who would contact his family if he has complications or dies in the hospital, and whether anyone checks or monitors the treatment he is receiving.

“Please I need answers to these questions and my family and friends need answers,” he wrote. “Two have died off our ship, if that were to happen to me I don’t believe my family would be notified in a timely manner; if I need to make a medical decision and I was unable to make that decision, I don’t think my wife would have the opportunity to speak (on) my behalf, so I’m worried and scared and frustrated with what I have seen and NOT heard so far.”

In the early hours of Thursday, Melanie Haering asked friends and family to reach out to Utah’s Congressional delegation, as well as the U.S. Embassy in Japan. Before posting the letter, she’d only heard from Rep. Ben McAdams, but within hours she’d received calls from both embassy officials and Rep. Chris Stewart’s office.

“On behalf of everyone’s phone calls, and emails to all these offices, we have a response. I will let you know,” she posted on her Facebook page Thursday morning. “Also ... John’s tests came back last night and both the swab and the saliva tests came back positive. It’s still the waiting game. He has a CT scan for his chest on Monday. Thank you all so much.”

In a Facebook post on Feb. 18, Melanie Haering appeared tired but more hopeful, even sharing a funny story about how her husband received a nice meal that was likely a mistake. She laughed about him devouring it, but expressed gratitude that he had something good to eat as he recovers far from home.

She said he “definitely has pneumonia” and expressed gratitude for the love and support she’d received from family and friends.

“I always say, I don’t have time to be negative because all I want to come into focus is the energy, whether it be from God, the universe, or whatever your beliefs are,” she said. “I feel like that’s a healing power.”

Mark and Jerri Jorgensen take a photo on Feb. 1, 2020, during their cruise. About six days later they were quarantined on the ship due to exposure to the coronavirus. Jerri Jorgensen tested positive for the virus on Feb. 15, 2020, in Yokohama, Japan. | Mark Jorgensen

The other Utahn remaining in Japan, Jerri Jorgensen, posted a Facebook video that appeared Thursday afternoon in Utah, which she said was 8:22 a.m. in Fukushima where she is hospitalized. She said she was going to be tested at 11 a.m. (about 7 p.m. Utah time), and if she was negative for the virus, she’d take a second test 24 hours later. If that second test was negative, she’d be allowed to leave the hospital.

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In an earlier post, she said she’d been told that she’d have to be quarantined at a different location for another 14 days. But in the most recent video, she said she received an email from the U.S. Embassy saying that wasn’t correct.

“If I get two negative tests, then I can be discharged and then I can fly home,” she said. “It’s a rollercoaster.”

She said Stewart also reached out to her on Thursday, and she was expecting a phone call from him.

“I’ve never met him, but I get to talk to him today,” she said, joking that she wanted to discuss his novels. “Which I think is cool.”

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