The 195 passengers who arrived in California from Wuhan, China, on Wednesday will be kept under a 14-day quarantine as they are continually monitored for symptoms of coronavirus, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials said on Friday.
The evacuees, who are being temporarily housed at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, are not believed to "pose a threat" to other residents in the area, officials said.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's national center for immunization and respiratory disease, said the order was given under the authority of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is the first the agency has issued in 50 years.
Messonnier said the legal order is part of the nation's aggressive approach to protect the general public from the rapidly evolving situation.
Jared Evans, a professional football player in China who is one of the evacuees, told The Associated Press that the passengers are continuing to be cautious while on base. Evans said he personally is wearing a mask and gloves and that, generally, people head back to their rooms after dinner.
At this time, Messonier said the CDC is not recommending that the general public wear masks.
As of Friday, officials said the death toll from coronavirus had risen to over 200 with an additional 9,600 confirmed illnesses, surpassing the number of people infected by SARS during the 2002-2003 outbreak.
This is a developing story.