One hundred and ninety five Americans evacuated from the epicenter of the coronavirus in China ditched the masks they’ve been wearing during a 14 day mandatory quarantine and threw them in the air in celebration just before leaving March Air Reserve Base.
“It was actually quite a good experience and we hope to have a reunion soon,” said Wuhan Consul General Jamie Fouss, who was part of the group quarantined. He said they tried to live a normal life on base and thanked the agencies who welcomed them and made them comfortable.
County and federal health officials held a news conference to announce their release.
“We are extremely happy to announce that all 195 evacuees have completed their quarantine period,” said Dr. Nancy Knight, RADM.
Most of them were then loaded onto buses and taken to Ontario International Airport or L.A.X..
“I’m happy to go home,” said an evacuee who only wanted to be identified by his first name, Dave, adding he was grateful to both countries collaborating to make the evacuation run smoothly.
“I’m very excited to be home,” said an evacuee named Scottt, adding he already had his first meal out planned, “In n Out Burger with a Jack and water.”
Health officials stressed the two weeks satisfies the incubation period and no one should be afraid of them.
“There should be no concern about novel coronavirus from these 195 individuals they have been watched more closely than anyone else in the United States,” says Dr. Knight.
This has become a concern because in recent days employees of base and their families have faced discrimination, online attacks and one even denied housing.
“Actions like that are not productive, not justified and not acceptable and by the same token I don’t want somebody to be attacked or ostracized, or outed for having been a part of this group they don’t need additional testing, they don’t need to be shunned they don’t have novel coronavirus, that was the whole reason for this quarantine and that quarantine has now run,” says Dr. Kaiser.
Family time and returning to work tops the list for some evacuees.
“Looking forward to going back to China if we can and meeting with our families here in the states in the mean time,” says Dave.