Coronavirus: 210 Americans evacuees arrived in Alaska from China as infection outbreak grows

Published on : Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A chartered flight with 210 Americans aboard arrived in Alaska to refuel on its first U.S. stop since leaving the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China. The fast-moving coronavirus has already killed 130 people and infected 6,000 others in China — most of them in the hardest-hit city of Wuhan. There are five cases of the disease have been confirmed in the United States.

 

The flight chartered by the State Department left Wuhan on Wednesday local time, and stopped in Anchorage, Alaska. From there, it will head to the March Air Reserve Base near Riverside, California, where it’ll arrive early Wednesday. The flight was originally planned to land at the civilian Ontario International Airport — about 35 miles from Los Angeles.

 

It’s not immediately clear why the itinerary was changed from the civilian airport to a military base. Curt Hagman, a San Bernardino County commissioner who is on the board of the Ontario airport, said they were informed Tuesday night that the plane will not land there. The passengers will go through a series of screenings during the trip and after they land.

 

The experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will screen them in Anchorage to determine whether they are healthy enough to continue on to California. The passengers who have a cough, fever or shortness of breath in Anchorage will be further assessed by medical experts, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

 

The CDC said that these individuals will be screened before they take off; monitored during the duration of the flight by medical personnel on board; screened again on landing to refuel in Anchorage, Alaska; monitored on the last leg of the flight by medical personnel on board; evaluated upon arrival at March Air Reserve Base … and then monitored for symptoms post-arrival. ┬áBefore the plane’s arrival itinerary was changed to a military airport, an official had told that the passengers may be forced to stay in isolation between three days and two weeks.

At the time, Hagman said authorities were setting up beds, phone chargers and televisions in an isolated, dormant hangar at Ontario International Airport.

 

It’s unclear whether the same procedure will be followed at the military base, which is in a different county. The passengers will go through a series of screenings during the trip and after they land.

 

The experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will screen them in Anchorage to determine whether they are healthy enough to continue on to California.

 

Passengers who have a cough, fever or shortness of breath in Anchorage will be further assessed by medical experts, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

 

Before the plane’s arrival itinerary was changed to a military airport, an official had told that the passengers may be forced to stay in isolation between three days and two weeks.

 

At the time, Hagman said authorities were setting up beds, phone chargers and televisions in an isolated, dormant hangar at Ontario International Airport. It’s unclear whether the same procedure will be followed at the military base, which is in a different county.


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