WASHINGTON, D.C. – A whistleblower claims the Department of Health and Human Services sent workers to China to receive the first American evacuees without appropriate gear to protect themselves from the coronavirus and they weren’t properly trained in infection control, The Washington Post and CNN report.
The whistleblower, identified by The Post as a senior HHS official who oversees workers at the Administration for Children and Families, filed the complaint on Wednesday with the Office of the Special Counsel, an independent federal watchdog agency.
Lawyers for the whistleblower tell The Post that the workers didn’t show symptoms of coronavirus infection and they weren’t tested for the virus, which originated in Wuhan and has killed at least 2,800 people worldwide so far.
In the complaint, the whistleblower reportedly states, “appropriate steps were not taken to quarantine, monitor, or test [the workers] during their deployment and upon their return home.”
The Americans that the workers came in contact with were among the evacuees from Wuhan who were quarantined at U.S. military bases because they were considered at high risk of contracting the virus.
The Post reports that the whistleblower is seeking federal protection because she claims she was unfairly and improperly reassigned after raising concerns to HHS officials about the safety of the workers.
The whistleblower claims she was told that if she didn’t accept the new position by March 5, she would be terminated, The Post reports.