U.S. Evacuates Multiple Employees From Chinese Consulate Over Mysterious Illness
08 June, 2018, 06:46 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
There are roughly 170 American diplomats or employees in Guangzhou, as well as their family members, and a senior American official said a sizeable number had undergone or would soon undergo testing by the State Department doctors who arrived on May 31.
The consulate is the largest by far in China, and is a major site for the issuing of visas for travel to the United States.
Vehicles pass by high-rise apartment buildings in The Canton Place where United States government workers experienced unexplained health issues in Guangzhou, southern China's Guangdong province, Thursday, June 7, 2018.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Deputy Secretary John Sullivan had established a task force to "direct a multi-agency response to the unexplained health incidents that have affected a number of USA government personnel and family members stationed overseas".
The medical screenings in China are continuing, Nauert said.
On May 23, the State Department issued a health alert after a USA government employee reported "subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure".
While the cause of the mysterious ailment, which already claimed at least one US official in Guangzhou back in April, is still under scrutiny, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month likened the symptoms displayed by the stricken worker to those experienced by US diplomats in Cuba.
Officials said the safety of American personnel and their families was their "top priority".
The two Americans evacuated worked at the American Consulate in the southern city of Guangzhou, the New York Times reported Wednesday, adding that their colleagues and relatives are also being tested by a State Department medical team.
The new cases broaden a medical mystery that began affecting American diplomats and their families in Cuba in 2016. The man, a Foreign Service officer at the Guangzhou consulate, said he began experiencing headaches and sleeplessness several months later, as did his wife and 3-year-old child.
Many Americans who heard odd noises in Cuba were diagnosed with minor brain trauma, like concussions.
She said China followed the Vienna convention to protect diplomatic staff of the U.S. and other countries.
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"After almost a year of investigation that has drawn on intelligence, defense and technology expertise from across the USA government, the FBI has been unable to determine who might have attacked the diplomats or how".
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