US-bound flights carrying evacuees from Afghanistan are on hold after four cases of measles were diagnosed among Afghans who had already arrived in the country, the White House said,
The flights have been temporarily paused “out of an abundance of caution” at the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
The Afghans diagnosed with measles are in quarantine per public health guidelines, and the CDC has begun contact-tracing steps, Psaki said.
Psaki noted that all of those arriving as part of “Operation Allies Welcome,” the Biden administration’s ongoing effort to resettle Afghan allies following the full US withdrawal from Afghanistan, are required to be vaccinated for the measles as a condition of entry.
Measles is a highly contagious virus that can be spread through coughing or sneezing, the CDC says. People can become infected with measles if they breathe contaminated air, or if they touch a contaminated surface and then touch their eyes, noses or mouths.