Pentagon Delays Afghanistan Refugee Flights Due to Measles People evacuated from Kabul Afghanistan wait on a bus that will take them to a refugee processing center after arriving to the Dulles International Airport on August 25, 2021 in Dulles, Virginia. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty)
By Theodore Bunker | Monday, 13 September 2021 05:38 PM
The Department of Defense on Monday announced that flights carrying evacuees from Afghanistan into the United States have been paused for a week after five cases of measles were discovered among new arrivals.
“Pentagon says flights into the U.S. of evacuees from Afghanistan paused for another week, with five cases of measles amongst new arrivals,” tweeted Reuters foreign policy correspondent Idrees Ali on Monday.
The Pentagon last week announced that multiple cases of measles had been diagnosed among new arrivals at airports in Wisconsin and Virginia, which prompted President Joe Biden’s administration to pause flights from two major bases in Qatar and Germany.
These flights will “remain paused at the request of the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] for at least seven additional days from today because of recently diagnosed cases of measles among Afghans who recently arrived in the United States,” DoD press secretary John Kirby said at the Pentagon on Monday, according to The Hill.
“There have been five diagnosed cases of measles among new arrivals so far and we are closely monitoring just in case more emerge,” he added.
Kirby noted that those who have been diagnosed with the measles “have been housed separately and are receiving medical care and the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are] doing contract tracing and will ask people to self-isolate as needed.”
He also said that the department is “taking these cases seriously,” and that all newly arriving evacuees from Afghanistan “are currently required to be vaccinated for measles as a condition of their humanitarian parole and critical immunizations including [measles, mumps and rubella] are being administered for Afghans” who are currently at military bases.