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.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845108

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161242006
Mobile741961379
Madison53291732
Shelby38328368
Baldwin38074589
Tuscaloosa36017641
Montgomery34483781
Lee25557263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22454406
Etowah20016517
Marshall18781316
Houston17729425
St. Clair16880358
Limestone16138218
Cullman16050303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14984306
Talladega14191299
DeKalb12971269
Walker12029380
Blount10715192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10161194
Coffee9415192
Colbert9341208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7255201
Russell707865
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5403130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317763
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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