By John Shiffman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Dozens of health care screeners and other employees at Los Angeles International Airport have been ordered to self-quarantine, after two colleagues tested positive for the coronavirus, a federal official told Reuters.

The two screeners were tasked with checking passengers arriving at LAX on international flights into the United States. A government official who was briefed on the matter said it is not yet clear if the screeners were infected by passengers, others at the airport or in their own communities.

The airport workers who have been told to self-quarantine are believed to have come into contact with the two stricken screeners, the official said. They have been told to self-quarantine until March 17, the official said. 

The official said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Homeland Security were making plans to reposition at least 25 people to replace the self-quarantined staff at LAX.

Spokespeople for the CDC and DHS were not immediately available for comment.

At least one other health screener at LAX previously tested positive for the virus. The DHS said on Wednesday that a federal contractor may have been exposed while conducting medical screenings at the airport.

(Reporting by John Shiffman; Editing by Daniel Wallis)