US DoD to provide housing for evacuees over coronavirus concerns

3 February 2020 (Last Updated February 13th, 2020 10:05)

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has approved the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) request to provide housing support for up to 1,000 people evacuated from Wuhan, China, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

US DoD to provide housing for evacuees over coronavirus concerns
The US Government and international partners are working to monitor an outbreak caused by a new coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City in China’s Hubei province. Credit: Food and Drug Administration.

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The US Department of Defense (DoD) has approved the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) request to provide housing support for up to 1,000 people evacuated from Wuhan, China, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The death toll from the Wuhan coronavirus has more than doubled in four days to 362, including the one reported in the Philippines, as of 2 February.

Officials from HHS requested the US DoD to provide several facilities that can house at least 250 people in individual rooms till the end of this month.

HHS will take care of the evacuees and be responsible for their transportation and security.

Housing support will be offered by the US DoD, which will not have any direct contact with the evacuees. Evacuees cannot access any base location other than their assigned housing.

If routine monitoring of all evacuees for 14 days identifies any potentially ill individuals, HHS has procedures in place to transport them to a local civilian hospital, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

The DoD has selected the 168th Regiment, Regional Training Institute, Travis Air Force Base, Lackland Air Force Base and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar to assist HHS evacuation operations if required.

It is also working with other government agencies to take appropriate measures with regard to the coronavirus outbreak.

DoD press secretary Alyssa Farah said: “DoD will work closely with our interagency partners and continue to monitor the situation. The department’s primary responsibility at this time is the safety of our force, our families and our base communities.”

CDC is currently monitoring the situation and working with the World Health Organization, state and local public health partners to respond to the outbreak and contain it.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced new rules regarding aircraft arrivals from China to restrict the spread of the coronavirus.