Atlanta, GA–The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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. The quarantine will last 14 days from when the plane left Wuhan, China. This action is a precautionary and preventive step to maximize the containment of the virus in the interest of the health of the American public.
This legal order will protect the health of the repatriated citizens, their families, and their communities. These individuals will continue to be housed at the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. Medical staff will continue to monitor the health of each traveler, including temperature checks and observation for respiratory symptoms. If an individual presents symptoms, medical care will be readily available. Even if a screening test comes back negative from CDC’s laboratory results, it does not conclusively mean an individual is at no risk of developing the disease over the likely 14-day incubation period.
This legal order is part of a public health response that is necessary to prevent the transmission and spread of this virus in the U.S. The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The current epidemic in Mainland China has demonstrated the virus’s capacity to spread globally. CDC is using one of the tools in our toolbox as a way to contain the potential impact of this novel virus on the United States.
This outbreak investigation is ongoing; we learn more every day about this newly emerging virus. First and foremost, CDC is committed to protecting the health and safety of all Americans. While CDC continues to believe the immediate risk to the larger American public is low at this time, this legal order has been put in place as a necessary step to fully assess and care for these repatriated Americans, protecting them, their loved ones, and their communities.