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Woman Who Flew to China While Sick Could Be Charged

She lied to crew on flight from US, authorities say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2020 6:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – With the coronavirus pandemic receding in China but surging elsewhere, Beijing is taking tough measures to avoid an imported second wave of infections. A Massachusetts resident who allegedly concealed her symptoms before taking a March 12 Air China flight to Beijing is being investigated for "impeding prevention of infectious disease," which carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison, the Los Angeles Times reports. Authorities say the 37-year-old woman took fever-reducing medications before flying from Massachusetts to Los Angeles and then to Beijing. She told a flight attendant she was feeling unwell and was moved to a quarantine zone at the back of the aircraft, but lied about having taking medication and failed to disclose that her husband and son were with her, officials say.

The woman tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Beijing. FiercePharma reports that the woman, surnamed Li, is a Chinese citizen and a permanent resident of Massachusetts. She is believed to be a Biogen employee who, along with dozens of others, was infected at a company leadership conference late last month. Chinese authorities say she told them that she started showing symptoms on March 1 and saw a doctor on March 3. According to officials, she requested a coronavirus test three times after a chest scan showed signs of lung infection but was rejected. She has been hospitalized and her husband, who also tested positive for COVID-19, is under observation. Authorities say 59 people who were on her flights have been identified as being at risk of infection. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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