Afghan refugees expected to arrive at Quantico, Fort Pickett this weekend


(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Several flights of Afghan refugees will arrive in Virginia this weekend, according to Governor Ralph Northam.

In a call with reporters, Northam said arriving Afghan refugees would be housed at Quantico, in Northern Virginia, and Fort Pickett, in Nottoway County. Refugees are expected at Fort Pickett on Saturday, and at Quantico on Sunday.

Northam said Virginia had a key role to play in carrying out the humanitarian mission, as most arrivals would enter the United States through a Virginia airport, “Dulles will continue to be the primary point of entry.”

But Northam also indicated that Philadelphia will soon start acting as a secondary arrival point.

An earlier group, consisting mostly of Afghan allies and their families, was housed at Fort Lee in Prince George County. But Northam now says the majority of that group has been resettled, and are on their way to new homes, with most arrivals staying for just three to five days.

The Virginia Department of Health has been at Dulles providing PPE and COVID-19 testing to the new arrivals, while FEMA has been tapped to offer vaccinations.

Gov. Northam said of concerns that refugees would set off an outbreak of COVID-19, “It’s just simply not true.”

In fact, Northam reported that “since the mission began eleven days ago, less than twenty people have tested positive” — a much lower rate than the state as a whole.

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