Well, this is mildly terrifying! On Wednesday morning, an Emirates airline double-deck airbus flight carrying around 500 passengers from Dubai was quarantined at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City after several passengers reported becoming ill on the flight. The symptoms were reportedly flu-like, including coughing and fevers reaching over 100 degrees.
The Port Authority Police and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were waiting when the flight landed shortly after 9 a.m. The cause of the illness is still under investigation, however apparently the flight had stopped in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which is currently experiencing a flu outbreak, and that’s being considered a possibility.
Earlier reports claimed that the number was around 100, however an Emirates spokesperson later put that number at closer to 10. Via Reuters:
“Emirates can confirm that about 10 passengers on board flight EK203 from Dubai to New York were taken ill,” the spokeswoman said. “On arrival at JFK, as a precaution, they were immediately checked by local health authorities and those needing medical attention will be attended to.” She said all other passengers would be allowed to leave the plane shortly.
It’s unclear how long the plane will remain under quarantine for, or when the rest of the passengers will be allowed to leave.
Update via a statement from Emirates:
“Emirates can confirm that all passengers have disembarked from flight EK203. All passengers were screened by the local health authorities prior to disembarkation, and three passengers and seven crew members were transferred to the hospital for further medical care and evaluation. Nine passengers underwent additional medical screening at the site near the aircraft and were released afterwards. The rest of the passengers were allowed to leave and clear customs. Our crew and on-ground staff extended our full cooperation to the authorities during the on-board screenings, and the aircraft has now been handed back to Emirates.