Four U.S. military bases in California, Colorado and Texas were selected Saturday to house up to 1,000 Americans expected to be placed under quarantine upon arrival from China where they will be examined for up to one month for signs of the coronavirus.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved a request from Health and Human Services officials Saturday, designated each facility to house up to 250 Americans in individual rooms until Feb. 29, as a precaution to prevent the spread of the novel respiratory illness.
The bases selected were: Travis Air Force Base in Solano County, Calif.; Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego County, Calif.; Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; and the 168th Regiment Regional Training Institute at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Health and Human Services will be responsible for providing transportation and caring for those housed at the bases, the Pentagon said in a statement. The Defense Department is only responsible for providing lodging, Joint Base San Antonio said in a Facebook update. Military personnel with not interact directly with those evacuated from China, the Los Angeles Times reported.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg released a statement confirming there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Texas city and that the American evacuees to be housed at the Lackland Air Force Base “have no symptoms and pose no risk to our community.”
On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention placed 196 people under mandatory quarantine at the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, Calif. The group had been evacuated from Wuhan to the southern California base earlier in the week. The CDC had not ordered a mandatory quarantine in more than 50 years, the Times reported.
Beginning Sunday, all U.S. bound flights from China will be funneled to seven major airports where passengers will undergo medical screenings for possible signs of the coronavirus. The Trump administration said anyone who had traveled to China’s Hubei province within the past 14 days will be placed under a mandatory two-week quarantine upon entering the U.S.
Announcing the public health crisis Friday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said other Americans who traveled elsewhere in China will be instructed to self-monitor for possible symptoms. Foreign nations who recently visited China would not be permitted to enter the country. Some exceptions would be granted for the immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
Eight people have been infected with the coronavirus in the U.S., the most recent case in Massachusetts was confirmed by the state’s Department of Public Health in a press release Saturday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported other cases in Washington state, California, Arizona and Illinois, according to figures on the agency's website last updated Friday.
The man in his 20s voluntarily sought medical attention in Massachusetts after returning from the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak of the disease that’s now killed more than 300 people, mostly from the Chinese mainland, and infected more than 14,000 others.