The US just evacuated nearly 200 Americans from Wuhan, China. The passengers reportedly cheered when they landed.
- Nearly 200 US citizens were evacuated on Tuesday from Wuhan, China - the city where a coronavirus outbreak originated in December.
- The flight landed in Riverside, California, on Wednesday.
- The plane carried many state department employees who were working at the US consulate in Wuhan, as well as their families.
- None of the passengers showed symptoms of the virus, the CDC said.
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A flight carrying 195 US citizens landed at the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California, on Wednesday after departing from Wuhan, China - the origin city of a coronavirus outbreak that has killed 132 people and infected around 6,000.
The plane carried many US state department employees who were working at the consulate in Wuhan, as well as their families. The youngest passenger on the flight was one-month old. Medical professionals were on board as well.
"These passengers are happy to be back in the United States," Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a briefing on Wednesday. "I heard that the people on board cheered loudly when the plane touched down safely in Anchorage."
A novel coronavirus
The outbreak has spread to 17 countries outside of China: Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the US, and Vietnam.
The US reported its first case on January 21, when a man in his 30s was confirmed sick in Snohomish County, Washington. Three days later, a woman in her 60s was confirmed sick in Chicago after traveling Wuhan in December. Three more US cases were confirmed on January 26: one in Los Angeles, one in Orange County, and another in Maricopa County, Arizona, which includes Phoenix.
The coronavirus family is a large group of viruses that typically affect the respiratory tract. Coronaviruses can lead to illnesses such as the common cold, pneumonia, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which resulted in 8,000 cases and 774 deaths in China from November 2002 to July 2003.
The US evacuees were screened for fever and evaluated for respiratory systems before they took off from Wuhan. One person had a fever and was not allowed to board, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said during a news conference on Wednesday. Passengers were screened again after boarding the plane.
Passengers agreed to stay in California for 3 days
The US flight stopped to refuel on Tuesday evening in Anchorage, Alaska, where passengers once more had their temperature taken and got evaluated by medical professionals. They were also questioned about whether they had been in close contact with any coronavirus patients - but none had, according to NBC News.
Then they received yet another evaluation when the plane landed in Riverside, where they were met on the tarmac by three buses and emergency vehicles.
The passengers have been assigned to living quarters at the air reserve base and have agreed to stay there voluntarily for up to three days. During that time, they'll be tested for the virus, and the samples will be sent to the CDC. Messonnier said three days "isn't a specific timeline," but it should give passengers "a little time to recuperate."
If any of the evacuees start exhibiting any symptoms of the virus - like fever, coughing, runny noses, or trouble breathing - they'll be sent to local hospital. Healthy passengers will be allowed to return home if their tests come back negative, but they have been asked to monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
Chinese health officials say the incubation period for the virus ranges from one to 14 days, during which time carriers can be infectious.
"As you can imagine with a new disease, we are being cautious," Messonnier said. "We're trying hard to make sure that we can get them on their way as quickly as possible."
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