Four new U.S military bases are being kept ready to house those traveling back due to the coronavirus threat, according to a Pentagon report.
On Saturday, Defense Secretary Dr. Mike T. Esper approved a request made by the Department of Health aiming to house up to 1,000 people who may need quarantine after overseas travel.
Government officials stated that “HHS officials requested the Defense Department to provide several facilities capable of housing at least 250 people in individual rooms through Feb. 29, 2020.”
The Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for handling care, transportation, and security issues. The Department of Defense, however, is strictly providing housing only.
The selections made by the Defense are Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California; Travis Air Force Base, California; 168th Regiment; Regional Training Institute, Fort Carson, Colorado; Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Dr. Nancy Messonnier stated during a media briefing that “While we recognize this is an unprecedented action, we are facing an unprecedented public health threat and this is one of the tools in our toolbox to mitigate the potential impact of this novel virus on the United States.”
Americans retreating from China are permitted into the country but will be met with a screening at select ports of entry and be expected to go through self-screening for 14 days to ensure they do not pose a health risk to the public.
On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump temporarily suspended entry to foreign nationals who have traveled to China within the last 14 days, granting immunity to the rule for the immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
The latest virus originated in China, and the death toll has hit 362 deaths as of Saturday. Globally, almost 17,386 people have contracted the virus, most of which are still in China’s land.
The virus presents itself with flu-like symptoms and is believed to have spread from animals to humans, possibly at a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan, China.