NEW YORK – Nineteen of the more than 520 people aboard an Emirates Airline flight placed under quarantine on arriving Wednesday at New York’s JFK International Airport were confirmed to be ill, authorities said.
“All the passengers are off and have been evaluated. 19 sick. 10 to hospital and 9 refused medical attention. Health officials are processing tests now to determine the cause. Symptoms still pointing to the flu,” Eric Phillips, spokesman for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, said on Twitter.
The Airbus SE A380 landed in New York at around 9:10 am, 14 hours after taking off from Dubai.
Police and experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were waiting for the plane to land, as they had been previously informed about the symptoms that numerous passengers were presenting.
After the plane landed, authorities began examining the physical condition of the passengers who presented symptoms, some of whom had visited Mecca, where a flu outbreak has been reported, Phillips said.
“Emirates can confirm that about 10 passengers on #EK203 from Dubai to New York were taken ill. On arrival, as a precaution, they were attended to by local health authorities. All others will disembark shortly. The safety & care of our customers is our first priority,” the airline said on Twitter.
“CDC is aware of an Emirates flight from Saudi Arabia arriving at JFK this morning with some passengers who are reporting an unspecified illness,” an agency official said in a statement.