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Afghan Resettlement Delayed after Measles Cases Detected in Recent Arrivals

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Afghan refugees wait to board buses that will take them to a processing center after arriving at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., September 2, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

The CDC has reportedly recommended that Afghan evacuees being processed at U.S. military bases overseas be tested and vaccinated for measles — an undertaking that would delay resettlement efforts by weeks — after four individuals tested positive following their arrival in the United States last week.

The Biden administration first announced last week that it would pause flights for Afghan evacuees at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany and the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar after four people tested positive following their arrival in the U.S. 

On Monday, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the administration plans to halt flights for “at least seven additional days.”

However, senior administration officials reportedly told Politico that they are making arrangements for the pause to be extended to allow thousands of people to be vaccinated and for immunity to develop. 

Such an undertaking could cause weeks-long delays in the efforts to resettle as many as 12,000 Afghans, and it would lengthen the stay of evacuees now housed at U.S. military bases, which are already struggling with overcrowding, according to the report.

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