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News | Jan. 31, 2020

DOD, Other Government Departments Take Coronavirus Response Measures

By David Vergun DOD News

The Defense Department is working with other government agencies in responding to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV, that was first detected in Wuhan City, in China's Hubei province and which continues to expand, according to the CDC's website.

Map with several countries, including the United States, in red.
Coronavirus Map
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map shows countries in red where the new caronavirus has been detected.
Photo By: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
VIRIN: 200129-O-ZZ999-004

Chinese health officials have reported thousands of infections with 2019-nCoV in China, with the virus reportedly spreading from person to person in many parts of that country. Infections with 2019-nCoV, most of them associated with travel from Wuhan, also are being reported in a growing number of international locations, including the United States, according to the CDC.

March Air Reserve Base in California and DOD stand ready to provide housing support to Department of Health and Human Services personnel as they work to handle the arrival of nearly 200 people, including State Department employees, their families and U.S. citizens evacuated from Wuhan, Alyssa Farah, DOD press secretary, said in a statement today.

Novel Coronavirus
Novel Coronavirus
Novel Coronavirus
Photo By: Bryce Evans
VIRIN: 200130-D-EX074-001

"DOD has assessed this support will not negatively impact readiness or critical operations, and we stand ready for their arrival," she stated.

HHS is responsible for all care of the evacuees, she noted. Therefore, DOD personnel will not be directly in contact with the evacuees, and evacuees will not have access to any base location other than their assigned housing.

Should routine monitoring of the evacuees identify ill individuals, HHS has procedures in place to transport them to a local civilian hospital, she continued.

Microscope view of virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV, is similar to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus in that it is spread from animals to people. The MERS virus particles are in blue, surrounding an infected cell. The undated image was taken at Fort Detrick, Md.
Photo By: National Institutes of Health
VIRIN: 200129-O-ZZ999-003

"DOD will work closely with our interagency partners and continue to monitor the situation," Farah said in her statement. The department's primary responsibility at this time is the safety of our force, our families and our base communities."

The CDC noted on its website that it is closely monitoring the situation and working with the World Health Organization and state and local public health partners to respond to this emerging public health threat and contain it.

Microscope view of virus.
The U.S.government and international partners are working closely to monitor an outbreak caused by a new coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City in China’s Hubei province.
Photo By: Food and Drug Administration
VIRIN: 200129-O-ZZ999-001

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats and bats, according to the CDC. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread. That was the case with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronaviruses.