Jan 31, 2020
ARS TECHNICA – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued the first federal quarantine order in more than 50 years for 195 Americans who were evacuated out of Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak (2019-nCoV)
The US citizens will be held under quarantine at the March Air Reserve Base in California, where they arrived from Wuhan on Wednesday, January 29 on an aircraft chartered by the US State Department. They have remained at the base since then.
The quarantine will last 14 days from the time that their flight left Wuhan.
The decision to issue a quarantine comes amid the continued spread of 2019-nCoV—both within and beyond China.
It also comes on the heels of a report that an asymptomatic infected person from China spread the viral illness to a 33-year-old healthy business associate in Germany.
Further testing found that three other associates at the same company in Germany had also contracted the infection.
All four cases were mild, and the first infected associate, who noticed symptoms on January 24, started feeling better and returned to work on the 27. The report was published yesterday, January 30, in the New England Journal of Medicine.
While it’s unclear how often asymptomatic transmission is occurring during this outbreak, the documented case raises concern that such quiet spread may thwart international outbreak control measures.
According to the latest figures, the 2019-nCoV outbreak has reached nearly 10,000 cases and 222 deaths. While nearly all of the cases are in China, the disease has spread to nearly a dozen other countries, including the US.
Update (1/31/2020, 5:00pm ET): The Trump Administration this afternoon declared the 2019-nCoV outbreak a public health emergency in the US. The Administration announced that beginning February 2, it will enforce mandatory quarantines of up to 14 days for US citizens who recently traveled to the Hubei province, where Wuhan is located.
Additionally, the administration will bar entry of non-resident foreign nationals who have traveled to China in the last two weeks and who do not have immediate family in the US.