Federal plans to move coronavirus patients to Alabama cancelled, political leaders report

Published 10:00 am Monday, February 24, 2020

Alabama’s political muscle appears to have thwarted federal plans to potentially bring American patients infected with the coronavirus to a federal facility in Alabama.

Both U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby and Rep. Mike Rogers reported via social media that plans had been nixed to bring patients that had been quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan to stay at FEMA facility in Anniston, Alabama.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human services announced the plan in a public news release. Almost instantly Alabama officials, who seemingly were caught off guard by the announcement, sought to thwart the decision.

Their efforts apparently worked.

“I just got off the phone with the President,” Sen. Shelby wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “He told me that his administration will not be sending any victims of the Coronavirus from the Diamond Princess cruise ship to Anniston, Alabama. Thank you, @POTUS, for working with us to ensure the safety of all Alabamians.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers mirrored Shelby’s statement, writing on Twitter that he had worked to stymy the matter as well.

“In the past 24 hours, I have spoken to @realdonaldtrump twice and just spoke with Secretary Azar,” Rogers wrote. “The plan to house the Americans exposed to Coronavirus at the CDP in Anniston has thankfully been CANCELLED.”