US State Department charter flight departs China amid coronavirus outbreak

A California-bound flight chartered by the US State Department left the China city...

Posted: Jan 28, 2020 10:24 AM
Updated: Jan 28, 2020 11:30 PM

A California-bound flight chartered by the US State Department left the China city at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak on Wednesday morning local time, a department spokesman said.

About 240 Americans could be on the flight from Wuhan Tianhe International Airport. It will stop to refuel in Anchorage, Alaska, before arriving early Wednesday at a military base near Riverside, California -- instead of a nearby civilian airport in Ontario, California, as first planned.

The plane will land at March Air Reserve Base instead of Ontario International Airport, officials said. No reason was immediately given for the change in itinerary.

While in Anchorage, passengers will be screened by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials, who will decide if they are healthy enough to continue on to California.

'Any passenger(s) who are found to have cough, fever, or shortness of breath in Anchorage will be further assessed by CDC and DHSS medical experts,' a news release from the Alaska DHSS says.

There will be three health checks for people on the flight, according to Ivar Satero, director of the San Francisco International Airport.

And when the plane arrives in California, one official told CNN the group of citizens may be forced to stay in isolation between three days and two weeks.

Authorities are setting up beds, phone chargers and televisions in an isolated, dormant hangar at Ontario International Airport, Curt Hagman, the chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, said.

'They're going to be isolated from the plane. They're not going to the public areas of the airport. They're not going to be exposed to the general public until CDC clears them to go on their way,' Hagman said.

Who is on board

About three dozen US diplomats and their families are expected to be on board the aircraft, a US official with knowledge of the matter told CNN. The State Department has said American citizens could board on a reimbursable basis if space is available.

Priority was given to US citizens who are 'most at risk for contracting coronavirus' if they stay in the city, a State Department official said. There are about 1,000 Americans living in Wuhan.

'All passengers will be subject to CDC screening, health observation, and monitoring requirements,' the State Department said in a statement.

The State Department said it was unable to accommodate everyone due to space limitations.

'The Department of State is working diligently with the government of China to identify alternative routes for US citizens to depart Wuhan over land,' said an automated email reply from the US Embassy in Beijing.

CDC monitoring some US airports

The State Department issued a Level 4 advisory for Wuhan, meaning 'no American should travel to Wuhan while this virus continues to have impact,' Vice President Mike Pence said Monday.

The department also ordered personnel working at the US Consulate General in Wuhan -- the epicenter of the outbreak -- to depart for the United States, the official said in a statement Monday.

The order came on the same day as the CDC said on its website that it was monitoring for symptoms of the Wuhan coronavirus at 20 US airports.

The CDC had previously enhanced screening of passengers from Wuhan, China, at five airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The European Commission said it was sending two aircraft to evacuate European Union citizens out of Wuhan, according to a statement Tuesday.

The EU will cofinance the transport costs, with the first aircraft scheduled to depart from France on Wednesday morning and the second later this week, said Janez Lenarcic, commissioner for crisis management, in a statement.

About 250 French citizens will be transported in the first aircraft and more than 100 EU citizens from other countries will be on board the second flight, the statement said.

Other countries, including South Korea and Japan, will send in charters to evacuate its nationals from the epicenter of the outbreak.

More than 100 people have died

More than 130 people have died from the Wuhan coronavirus and almost 6,000 cases have been confirmed across China. Five cases of the disease have been confirmed in the US, according to the CDC.

The virus can be spread before any symptoms appear, Chinese health authorities said Sunday, meaning carriers may not realize they are infected before they transmit the virus to others.

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport manager Jim Szczesniak said the amount of time the jet chartered by the State Department is on the ground in Alaska likely will be 'measured in hours.'

State Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said Monday that passengers will all receive health screenings when they arrive at an unused terminal of the airport.

Ontario Airport said in a statement Monday it has been working closely with federal, state, county and city partners to prepare for the arrival of the Wuhan flight. The airport has 'conducted extensive training in managing situations such as this' and health, safety and security preparations are underway ahead of the flight's planned arrival, the statement read.

Ontario Airport will operate under normal operations during the flight's arrival, and the facility is taking steps to minimize risk to other travelers, staff, and the community, the statement read.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 68293

Reported Deaths: 1944
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5656118
DeSoto368031
Harrison253036
Madison244368
Rankin229235
Jackson228843
Jones191659
Forrest182056
Washington168942
Lee147941
Lauderdale141192
Neshoba128692
Lamar122614
Oktibbeha112739
Bolivar111834
Warren109533
Lowndes108538
Panola106214
Sunflower105425
Scott100320
Lafayette98317
Copiah95728
Leflore94765
Pike93836
Holmes90049
Grenada84921
Yazoo83312
Lincoln83241
Pontotoc8308
Simpson80330
Monroe80155
Leake79025
Wayne77421
Coahoma77213
Tate73629
Marshall7019
Marion68420
Union64316
Adams62925
Winston62316
Covington62113
George5895
Pearl River55439
Newton54311
Tallahatchie53011
Attala52325
Walthall50120
Chickasaw47019
Noxubee45912
Alcorn4345
Tishomingo4216
Calhoun4209
Prentiss41710
Claiborne40913
Smith40613
Clay39714
Hancock39514
Jasper3889
Itawamba37510
Tippah36713
Tunica3517
Clarke32626
Montgomery3265
Lawrence3228
Yalobusha31510
Humphreys29411
Quitman2701
Carroll26111
Greene25512
Perry2437
Amite2356
Webster23512
Kemper23414
Jefferson Davis2336
Wilkinson21113
Stone2055
Sharkey1995
Jefferson1957
Benton1431
Choctaw1354
Franklin1312
Issaquena262
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99926

Reported Deaths: 1781
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13258244
Mobile10517207
Montgomery6835149
Madison544734
Tuscaloosa423076
Baldwin365125
Unassigned363064
Shelby330936
Marshall318937
Lee270047
Morgan241118
Etowah216232
DeKalb183013
Calhoun180717
Elmore173138
Walker153964
Houston141912
Russell13872
St. Clair135418
Limestone134913
Dallas133123
Franklin128820
Cullman122712
Colbert120716
Lauderdale118919
Autauga117421
Escambia108717
Talladega104814
Jackson10144
Tallapoosa86579
Chambers84438
Dale83525
Clarke82610
Blount8124
Chilton8097
Butler76736
Coffee7646
Covington73720
Pike7087
Marion58026
Barbour5765
Lowndes57324
Marengo56515
Hale47826
Bullock46611
Winston45711
Perry4454
Washington44312
Bibb4425
Wilcox43210
Monroe4215
Pickens4049
Randolph40310
Conecuh39310
Sumter36418
Lawrence3512
Macon33914
Crenshaw3265
Choctaw28712
Cherokee2758
Henry2643
Clay2635
Geneva2631
Greene25211
Lamar2292
Fayette2125
Cleburne1271
Coosa1033
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