J. Scott Applewhite/AP
A JetBlue passenger who flew Wednesday tested positive for the coronavirus.
Local news reports said passengers were allowed to leave the plane without medical tests after it landed in West Palm Beach.
Airlines have been walloped by flight cancellations due to the spreading coronavirus, with many stocks losing half their value in a matter of weeks.
A passenger on a JetBlue flight from New York City to West Palm Beach, Florida on Wednesday night has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to local news reports.
ABC News reported that the 114 passengers aboard JetBlue flight 253, which landed just before 9pm, remained on the plane for nearly two hours following landing to be given information by local health officials.
"Passengers in the vicinity of the positive patient were advised of monitoring procedures," Palm Beach County Fire Rescue said in a statement to ABC news.
"The rest of the passengers were released to go home," and instructed to call the local health department with any other concern, the statement continued.
Passenger Scott Rodman told WPTV that the was wearing masks and gloves. His wife was sitting in the same row as me and mentioned to others that he wasn't feeling well. She said he had gotten a phone call with his test results right before we had taken off, implying that he had a positive test but not actually saying it."
JetBlue representative Derek Dombrowski sent the following statement to Business Insider:
"The health and safety of our customers and crewmembers is our top priority. We're asking customers who do not feel well or are concerned they may have coronavirus to not fly until cleared to travel by a doctor or health professional. JetBlue is currently waiving change and cancellation fees to allow customers the opportunity to change or pause their travel plans should they need to.
"In last night's case, our crewmembers did an incredible job coordinating with health authorities. After health officials allowed customers to disembark, we conducted a thorough sanitizing of the aircraft according to CDC guidance. We have also sanitized common areas in both airport terminals involved. We will continue to coordinate closely with health officials and provide them any additional information required.
Earlier this week, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said the coronavirus outbreak and resulting airline selloff is "probably worse" than the post 9/11 dip in air travel. Shares of JetBlue have fallen more than 44% since mid-February as flight cancellations to affected regions and new travel bans wreak havoc on the entire industry. The company also withdrew its 2020 financial guidance in the face of uncertainty.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced a 30-day travel ban for foreign nationals arriving from most European countries. As of Thursday morning, 127,000 cases of the viruses had been confirmed globally with 1,323 of those in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University's tracker.
"We remain focused on safety and taking actions to manage the near-term challenges and the headwinds that we face," Hayes said at a conference hosted by JPMorgan on Wednesday. "And we will stay flexible as the impact of the coronavirus unfolds."
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