Extreme Measures

CDC Quarantines 195 US Citizens Who Fled China Outbreak

The federal government is trying to prevent a massive outbreak in the U.S.

1. 31. 20 / Dan Robitzski
BriYYZ via Flickr/Victor Tangermann
Image by BriYYZ via Flickr/Victor Tangermann

In order to prevent a devastating 2019-nCoV coronavirus outbreak in America, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued quarantine orders for 195 U.S. citizens who recently fled the situation in China.

“The CDC, under statutory authority of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, has issued federal quarantine orders to all 195 United States citizens who repatriated to the U.S. on January 29, 2020,” reads the CDC’s statement on Twitter. “The quarantine will last 14 days from when the plane left Wuhan, China.”

In a later tweet, the CDC clarified that the 195 citizens will be held at March Air Force Base in California, where medical staff will be ready to treat any coronavirus symptoms that may emerge.

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The agency sees the quarantine as a precautionary and preventative — but necessary — measure to prevent a major outbreak in the U.S.

The CDC’s tweets were scarce on details, but presumably the quarantined Americans will be free to go if they don’t show any signs of 2019-nCoV after the two weeks are up. While most viral infections will present symptoms within a few days, reports suggest that the coronavirus can remain asymptomatic for as long as two weeks.

The move mirrors — albeit on a small scale — China’s decision to quarantine approximately 50 million residents because of the outbreak.

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More reason for alarm: Given recent reports that people can spread the disease even before any symptoms emerge, a person presenting as healthy could potentially still transmit 2019-nCoV.


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