Kevin Qiu, 42, was stopped at the Canadian border trying to come into the US. He claimed to have recently been in China and there was a warrant out for his arrest in Pennsylvania. Now, he’s detained in New York, under watch for coronavirus symptoms
A 42-year-old fugitive from Brooklyn is now being held under observation for coronavirus at a Buffalo, New York, detention center after he told agents at the Canadian border that he had recently been to China.
Kevin Qiu has an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Pennsylvania, though it is not clear for what he was wanted.
At some point, he made his way to Canada and, on Wednesday, attempted to come back to the US via the Peace Bridge.
He admitted to Customs Border and Patrol officers that he had recently been to China. His name was flagged for the warrant, and the officers took him into custody.
Qiu is being housed at the Erie County jail, where medical personnel are closely monitoring his temperature and vitals, in case he develops any signs of the virus.
‘Qiu, who has recently traveled to China, is assessed as a “medium risk” individual for the virus,’ said the Erie County Sheriff’s Office in a statement.
‘Although the individual is not symptomatic, precautions are in place until his judicial release or decision on extradition.’
In addition to funneling all Americans returning from China into 11 airports, the White House has instructed agents on US land and sea borders to ask those attempting to enter the country about their travel histories.
At least one person has been stopped and turned away at the Canadian border because they had recently traveled to China.
US border agents are not asked with checking travel histories in an effort to contain the coronavirus
Qiu is being closely monitored at the Erie County Sheriff’s Office’s jail while he awaits release or extradition
The White House enacted a travel ban on any none-US citizens who have traveled to China within two weeks of attempting to come to the US in an effort to stem the spread of the virus in the US.
Americans returning to the US from Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicenter – however few there may be, as the city is itself on lockdown – are subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
People coming back from elsewhere in China have been directed to self-quarantine at home.
Someone with a warrant out for their arrest, however, present a unique challenge.
Jail house medical staff examined Qiu and, although he didn’t present with any symptoms, they took precautions per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance to make sure he was a minimal risk to the staff and other inmates.
‘The Sheriff’s Office notified the New York State Department of Health and the Erie County Department of Health, and all parties are working to establish protocols, precautions, and protections for jail staff and other inmates,’ the Sheriff’s office said in a statement.
‘Jail management has taken appropriate measures to ensure the health and welfare of other inmates and staff.
‘In the meantime, medical professionals will be monitoring Qiu’s temperature and other vitals on a set schedule.’
It comes as Trump addressed the National Border Patrol Council and, incorrectly, said the number of cases of coronavirus in the US was ‘like, around 12,’ despite the CDC’s confirmation of a 15th case yesterday.
He also reiterated his assertion that the outbreak will subside as warmer weather moves in, an argument he first made accompanying praise for President Xi Jinping’s handling of the outbreak.
Fifteen cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the US, with the latest in Texas
Trump again gave President Xi warm reviews, saying China was handling the outbreak professionally.
However, the US has made numerous offers to send its experts to China to help the nation fight the outbreak that has killed 1,832 people there since it emerged in Wuhan in December.
Despite cases surging to nearly 64,000 in China and approaching 65,000 worldwide, the government there has yet to accept the offer that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says is ‘still on the table.’
Larry Kudlow, an economic adviser to the White House, broke from the consistent praise of China on Thursday after an unprecedented spike of some 15,000 newly-reported cases in Hubei province (where Wuhan is located).
He said the alarming increase called into question China’s transparency, and said he was ‘disappointed.’
Friday, the US also offered aid to North Korea to help fight an outbreak that officials suspect the secretive and economically unstable nation may be hiding.
So far, no cases or deaths have been officially confirmed in the isolated nation, but unverified sources have claimed that North Korea has at least some cases, and perhaps one or more deaths.
CDC officials have said that the flow of Americans into the US from China has slowed, and the most recently reported cases have been in people in quarantines after returning from Wuhan on evacuation.
Nonetheless, they believe the virus has a good chance at taking a ‘foothold’ in the US, making containment measures all the more important.
Qiu isn’t in quarantine per se, but local health officials have been alerted to the prisoner’s travel history and detainment.