Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland announced on Saturday it had been selected by the Department of Health and Human Services to house people arriving from China who are at risk of being infected with coronavirus.
At least 250 of an estimated 1,000 evacuees could be housed at Lackland while a two week quarantine period plays out. Lackland tweeted that base personnel will not be directly in contact with the evacuees, and evacuees will not have access to any base location other than where they're being housed.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg released a statement saying, in part, that those quarantined at Lackland pose no threat to people in the city. His complete statement follows:
“We were notified that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense have decided to evacuate American citizens from China and quarantine them at U. S. military installations, including Lackland Air Force Base. We have been told that these individuals have no symptoms of the virus and pose no risk to our community.
We should all be comforted by the extra precautions being taken by federal, state and local health officials.
We do not currently have any individuals diagnosed with the coronavirus here in San Antonio, and our Metro Health Department will continue to monitor the situation and exercise an abundance of caution.”
Both the World Health Organization and the US Department of Health and Human Services have declared public health emergencies related to this new, fast moving coronavirus. As of Sunday, Feb. 2, the coronavirus outbreak has infected more than 14,300 people globally and killed at least 305.
There are nine confirmed cases in the United States. None of them are in Texas.
After concerns broke out on social media about the quarantine, JBSA-Lackland officials announced they would host a town hall for base personnel and their families. Representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control will answer questions about the quarantine on Wednesday at 5pm.
JBSA personnel & their families are invited to attend a town hall to address any questions/concerns to the @DHHS on the evacuation of passengers from China. DHHS & @CDCgov officials will discuss efforts to protect the health & welfare of our JBSA community during this operation. pic.twitter.com/pPFqXWDAbK— JointBaseSanAntonio (@JBSA_Official) February 4, 2020
This story will be updated.