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Emirates plane briefly quarantined at John F. Kennedy airport after 19 passengers are deemed sick

An Emirates airline Airbus A380 superjumbo jet was briefly quarantined at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport after numerous passengers fell ill on a flight arriving from Dubai early Wednesday.

As many as 100 passengers, including some crew members, “complained of illness, including cough and some with fever,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Emirates confirmed an incident of illness on board Flight 203, which landed in New York around 9:15 a.m. EDT and was sent to a staging area to be inspected by Port Authority and CDC officials. Many passengers had been sent on their ways by 10:45 a.m. EDT, though it took until around noon until all had been evaluated.

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“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 carrier said in a statement.

Ultimately, 19 people were deemed “sick,” according to Eric Phillips, spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio.

Eric Phillips

@EricFPhillips
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

@EricFPhillips
432 now off and cleared. 8 more sick and being treated at the airport. https://twitter.com/ericfphillips/status/1037363826742775809 …

6:34 PM – Sep 5, 2018
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Phillips tweeted at 12:34 p.m. EDT that “all the passengers are off and have been evaluated.” Of those who were ill, 10 were hospitalized, and nine “refused medical attention.”

“Health officials are processing tests now to determine the cause,” Phillips wrote. “Symptoms still pointing to the flu.”

“CDC public health officers are working with port authority, EMS and CBP officials to evaluate passengers, including taking temperatures and making arrangements for transport to local hospitals for those that need care,” the CDC said in its statement. “Passengers who are not ill will be allowed to continue with their travel plans, and if necessary will be followed up with by health officials.”

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Emirates flight quarantined at John F. Kennedy airport
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Emergency response crews gather outside a plane at New York’s Kennedy Airport amid reports of ill passengers aboard a flight from Dubai, Sept. 5, 2018. Larry Coben via AP

One person took to Twitter with a description from the plane.

“All we have been told is that some passengers have fallen ill and we should remain in our seats,” said Twitter user Larry Coben.

Coben posted an image of a “row of ambulances” that met the jet at JFK. He followed with another tweet showing flight crew deplaning and walking across the tarmac toward the lineup of emergency vehicles.

Kennedy Airport

@JFKairport
Statement by Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton on Emirates Flight 203 at John F. Kennedy Airport. #JFK #JFKairport http://www.panynj.gov/press-room/press-item.cfm?headLine_id=2987 …

5:41 PM – Sep 5, 2018
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Coben said passengers on the jet were asked to fill out a form from the CDC that was titled “Passenger Locator Information Page.”

By 10:45 a.m. EDT, Coben wrote via Twitter that he was making his way toward passport control. At 11:03 a.m., he said, “Happy to report that I am through customs and on my way home. Others as well.”

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Larry Coben
@LarryCoben
All passengers being asked to fill out the Center for disease control and prevention form

4:19 PM – Sep 5, 2018
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The Airbus A380 is the world’s largest commercial passenger aircraft.

Emirates is by far the top operator of the model, with more than 100 in its fleet. The seating capacity on the jets vary, but Emirates has three configurations that seat 489, 517 or 615 passengers. The models Emirates flies to New York typically seat either 489 or 517.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Sam Sweeney

@SweeneyABC
BREAKING: An Emirates A380 in quarantine at JFK Airport right now awaiting CDC officials after about 100 passengers became ill with fevers over 100 degrees and coughing. Flight 203 had just arrived from Dubai.

3:46 PM – Sep 5, 2018
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