Riverside County public health officials say one of the roughly 200 passengers who arrived at March Air Reserve Base from Wuhan China has been placed in quarantine after the person attempted to leave the base prematurely.
The order by Dr. Cameron Kaiser requires the person to remain at the air reserve base for the entire two-week incubation period of the fatal disease or until he is otherwise cleared.
"This action was taken as a result of the unknown risk to the public should someone leave MARB early without undergoing a full health evaluation," officials said.
The flight charged by the U.S. State Department touched down at March Air Reserve Base at around 8:11 a.m. on Wednesday with 195 passengers on board who came from the region where the deadly coronavirus is thought to have originated. The passengers were cordoned off from military personnel at the base where they will have their temperatures and any respiratory symptoms checked every 12 hours over the course of 72 hours.
The rest of the passengers remain under voluntary isolation.
“If we think that a person is a danger to the community, we can institute an individual quarantine for that person, and we will,” said Christopher Braden, a deputy director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.
After a three-day evaluation period passes, the passengers will given the option to go home, however, they will be continued to be monitored for the remained of the virus' two-week incubation period by their local health agencies.
“When I talked to them about their willingness to stay to be fully evaluated over three days or so, all of those that I talked to were very willing to do that. ... They want to protect their family, they want to protect others,” Braden said.
The flight was originally scheduled to land at Ontario Airport after going through a preliminary screening conducted by CDC personnel in Anchorage, Alaska. However, the flight was later diverted to March Air Reserve Base.
The plane was made up of mostly people who work at the U.S. consulate in Wuhan. The original manifest listed 240 passengers aboard, but officials say many did not show up while others did not have the proper documentation to board. One person had a fever and had to remain in China.
As of Thursday afternoon, at least six cases of the deadly coronavirus has been confirmed in the United States. The first person-to-person transmission was reported in Chicago between a husband and wife.
Nearly 7,800 people worldwide have been diagnosed to have the Wuhan coronavirus, with the vast majority of the patients from the Hubei Province in China. At least 170 people have died from the disease Chinese health officials say.
Meanwhile the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency on Thursday after the number of cases spiked over the last week.
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