LOS ANGELES (CNS) — One day after authorities confirmed a Korean Air flight attendant who worked flights out of Los Angeles International Airport was diagnosed with coronavirus, Mayor Eric Garcetti assured residents that extensive precautions are being taken at the airport to help prevent a spread of the virus.
On Wednesday, Feb. 26, Orange County officials declared a local health emergency in response to the coronavirus, which has now infected more than 81,000 people worldwide and first responders in LA also held a news conference.
“We’re disinfecting LAX every hour,” the mayor told reporters while attending a housing-project groundbreaking in the Los Feliz area.
“We’re making sure that those points of entry and those places where we could see somebody come in and create a vector are secure as we can possibly make them, knowing you can never have 100% security.”
The flight attendant, who was diagnosed with the virus in South Korea, worked flights between LAX and Seoul, South Korea, on Feb. 19 and 20, according to South Korean media outlets.
The woman had also serviced a flight from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Seoul on Feb. 15, South Korea’s Center for Disease Control reported. A church group was on the flight and at least 30 members of the group were diagnosed with coronavirus, known as COVID-19, South Korean authorities said.
The diagnosis was first reported in South Korea. Korean Air did not confirm the reports, but has closed its operations center at Incheon Airport in order to disinfect the area.
There have been no reports of any local infections as a result of the flight attendant’s illness. There is still only one confirmed case of coronavirus in Los Angeles County.
About 1,150 cases of coronavirus have been reported in South Korea, including a 23-year-old U.S. service member stationed in the country.
The soldier “is currently in self-quarantine at his off-base residence… Korean and US military health professionals are actively conducting contact tracing to determine whether any others may have been exposed,” according to a US Forces Korea statement.
Garcetti told reporters precautions against the coronavirus are also in place at the port complex, where crew members on cargo ships from Asian ports are not being permitted ashore.
“They’re coming up to the dock and we’re making sure they get their food, whatever they need, in there, but — not that we have any reason to believe that they’ve been exposed — but they’re not permitted to go out and be about in the city, just to be safe,” he said.
Worldwide, more than 81,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, including 2,770 deaths, the vast majority of them in China. More than 50 cases have been confirmed in the United States, including one each in Los Angeles and Orange counties.