Americans Leaving China To Be Quarantined In Texas

Alan Scaia
February 07, 2020 - 11:06 am
China

Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA

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About 250 Americans who asked to leave China will spend two weeks in quarantine at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says their plane left China Thursday and stopped in California for refueling.

Each passenger was screened for the virus in California. None showed symptoms.

Once they arrive at Lackland, the CDC says the 250 people will stay in unoccupied housing that will be fenced off. The CDC says the housing is a "hotel-like facility," and federal marshals will patrol the perimeter.

"Each passenger will have symptom checks multiple times a day," says the Jennifer McQuiston, the CDC's deputy director of the Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology. "If anyone is found ill, they're going to be immediately transported to a local hospital for isolation with conditions that will help prevent spread."

McQuiston says people wearing protective gear will deliver food and clean up in the housing complex. Anyone who begins to show symptoms will be taken to a hospital in San Antonio and be treated in isolation.

"We do this for Ebola; we do it for Marburg; we do it for a lot of different infectious diseases," she says. "The same principles are being applied here. That's how you keep an outbreak from mushrooming into an epidemic."

The passengers staying in quarantine are from different areas of the United States. Once the two week quarantine period is up, the CDC says it will work with each person on transportation home. McQuiston says the fatality rate from coronavirus appears "reassuringly low."

"I think it can seem alarming when you see a big, national response ramp up like this, but one of the reasons we are doing that is it's a brand new, emerging virus," McQuiston says. "There could be some uncertainty with that, and I think we want to be very prepared."