The Pentagon is preparing military installations to, if necessary, quarantine up to 1,000 people returning to the US from overseas to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, the Department of Defense announced Saturday.
“On Feb. 1, Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper approved a request for assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services for housing support for 1,000 people who may need to be quarantined upon arrival from overseas travel due to the novel coronavirus,” a Pentagon statement explained.
The facilities — which each contains at least 250 individual rooms — will be made available through Feb. 29 through the housing request, officials said. They are located at the 168th Regiment’s Regional Training Institute in Fort Carson, Colorado, Travis Air Force Base and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California, and Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
The Department of Defense is only providing housing support, and US military personnel will not come in direct contact with any quarantined individuals, who will not have access to any areas on base other than the quarantine facilities. The Department of Health and Human Services will handle care, transportation, and security issues.
On Friday, Jan. 31, the US government declared the novel coronavirus a public health emergency. US citizens who were in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital city, within two weeks of their return to the US will be quarantined for 14 days.
Travelers returning from other locations in China will be screened at ports of entry.
Around 200 people who were evacuated out of Wuhan and arrived in the US Wednesday have been quarantined at March Air Reserve Base in California.
As of Feb. 2, the coronavirus had killed nearly 400 people and infected more than 12,000 people in China and in around two dozen other countries.
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