New Orleans, June 8: New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, his wife Seletha, and their protection unit, were placed in a designated quarantine location in Shanghai after a passenger on the same flight to China exhibited "signs and symptoms of an influenza-like illness suspected to be of the H1N1 subtype".
According to a statement from Ceeon D. Quiett, Nagin's director of communications, "The officials from the airline and the U.S. embassy then contacted everyone who was sitting within a certain distance of that passenger.
“Mayor Nagin his wife and members of his executive protection unit are all in quarantine. It is not the whole plane, just those who were sitting in close proximity of this passenger."
Although Nagin and his entourage are currently symptom free they are quarantined as a precautionary measure. A spokesman for mayor said, “The mayor is being treated with utmost courtesy by Chinese officials.”
The mayor could not be reached directly but Quietta stated: "Mayor Nagin is feeling well and continues to be in communication with his staff. We have talked with him and he is in good spirits.”
The economic development trip on hold
The Nagins and four City Hall staff members flew out of Newark, N.J., on Friday for 10-day economic development trip to China and Australia.
The mayor was scheduled to travel to Sydney to discuss climate change at the 2009 National Summit of the United States Studies Center at the University of Sydney.
His agenda is on indefinite hold because of the unscheduled delay. There is no indication of how long the quarantine would last.
"Right now, everything is stopped and we will follow the lead of Shanghai medical officials," Ceeon Quiett said at a City Hall news conference Sunday afternoon. "He seemed fine. Just following the procedure.”
Precautionary measures adopted by China
As a precautionary measure over the past few weeks, China has adopted aggressive methods to keep the virus from spreading in the country.
The health authorities have instituted temperature checks at airports, quarantined foreign travelers and also stopped pork imports from countries with infections. The quarantine usually lasts for a week.
According to the Ministry of Health, the country had confirmed 73 infections as of June 6, with no fatalities.