New charter flights with coronavirus evacuees begin to arrive in U.S.

Feb. 5 (UPI) — Flights carrying additional American citizens trapped in Wuhan, China — ground zero for the ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak — have started to arrive at various military bases across the country.

Two planes, both with more than 100 passengers, arrived Wednesday morning at Travis Air Force Base in Sacramento, U.S. officials said.

Additional flights, chartered by the U.S. State Department, are expected to land at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Neb. over the next few days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

All arriving flights have been and will be met by a team of CDC personnel deployed to assess the health of the passengers, the agency said. Passengers are also screened, monitored and evaluated by medical and public health personnel before takeoff and during the flights.

Once on the ground in the U.S., CDC staff will conduct risk assessments to ensure the health of each traveler, including temperature checks and observing for respiratory symptoms.

As with the charter that arrived at March Air Reserve Base in Ontario, Calif. last week, passengers on all new flights will be issued quarantine orders upon arrival. This legal order is intended to protect the travelers, their families, and the community, the CDC said, and will begin on the day each flight left Wuhan and will continue for up to 14 days after arrival in the U.S.

CDC staff will work with the state and local public health departments to transport any passenger exhibiting symptoms to a hospital for further evaluation.

“CDC is committed to protecting the health and safety of Americans,” the agency said in a statement. “We continue to believe the immediate risk of coronavirus exposure to the general public is low, however, CDC is undertaking these measures to help keep that risk low. CDC is taking these measures to fully assess and care for these passengers to protect them, their loved ones, and their communities.”


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