State medical officials in Maryland say a patient who had recently traveled to China and was showing flu-like symptoms was taken off a Southwest Airlines flight at BWI Airport outside Baltimore on Saturday afternoon, but did not meet federal criteria for coronavirus testing and has since been released after further medical evaluation.

“The person did not meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for 2019 novel coronavirus testing but was referred to a medical facility for evaluation to determine whether additional follow-up was necessary. Per guidance from the CDC, no special action was indicated for this person or for any other passengers or crew on the flight,” the Maryland Health Department said in a statement. “Following evaluation by medical personnel, the person was released.”


The person was on Southwest Flight 2889 from Las Vegas to Baltimore, which arrived at BWI around 2 p.m.

In its own statement, Southwest said that crew had asked for local medical personnel to meet the flight at BWI given the passenger’s symptoms.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and in light of the recent concerns of the coronavirus, our Crew followed recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control for responding to concerns to ensure the Customer, and those traveling with them, receive the assistance or support they may need,” the airline said.

The airline directed all other questions to the state health department, as did a spokesman for BWI.

The health department did not identify the passenger, but said they had previously been “screened and cleared” in Mexico and again in Las Vegas prior to boarding the flight to Baltimore.

The new virus, which can cause pneumonia, first broke out in Wuhan, China, and has killed dozens of people in China. More than 1,000 people have been infected.

Maryland has not had any confirmed cases of the virus. There have been confirmed cases in Washington state and in Illinois.