WASHINGTON — On Feb. 1, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) and Rep. Norma Torres (D-Ontario) sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett requesting more information on the decision to repatriate U.S. diplomats and citizens to March Air Reserve Base and expressing concern over the lack of transparency behind this decision.
In the letter, Takano and Torres state, “Some members of Congress were first notified of, but not consulted on, this decision on the evening of Jan. 29 by officials from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other members were told the flight was being diverted away from Ontario International Airport, the initial destination, but were not informed of the final destination.
“However, the one consistency is that we have yet to receive any contact or update from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) on this flight or any future plans to repatriate additional individuals at March Air Reserve Base.”
They continue, “We are deeply troubled by this lack of transparency. Any unilateral decisions in this regard has had and will continue to have lasting impacts on the employees and citizens at March as well as members of the surrounding community.”
On Saturday, CDC Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Jay Butler answered Takano’s questions and provided his staff with more information about what is known about coronavirus and precautions being taken at March.
During this call, the office learned that according to the Department of Defense, four military bases nationwide, other than March Air Reserve Base, have been chosen to house up to 1,000 people who may require quarantine following overseas travel in China going forward.