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Another flight carrying Americans fleeing coronavirus lands in Southern California

The second flight of U.S. citizens fleeing the coronavirus in China to arrive at MCAS Miramar aboard a Kalitta Air Boeing 747, is unloaded after landing, February 7, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Howard Lipin/TNS)

Another flight carrying Americans fleeing the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, arrived Friday at a Southern California military base.

The plane is one of two chartered to the United States by the Defense Department.

The two flights departed China with about 300 passengers on board, the Pentagon said Thursday night in a statement.

One of the aircraft landed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego shortly before 9 a.m., Lance Cpl. Andrew Hiatt said.

The second was headed to Omaha but would first refuel at Travis Air Force Base near Sacramento and then proceed through Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, officials said.

On arrival, passengers on both flights will be placed under a 14-day federal quarantine order overseen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new strain of coronavirus has infected more than 30,000 people, killing more than 630, since it emerged in China in late December. Many of the cases have been reported in and around China’s Hubei province, where Wuhan is located.

In the U.S., 12 people have become infected in six states — six in California, two in Illinois and one each in Arizona, Massachusetts, Washington and Wisconsin. All of the patients had either recently traveled to China or, in two cases, had close contact with someone who did.

The U.S. State Department has advised against all travel to China because of the virus and has said that any Americans there should try to return to the U.S. Most commercial airlines have suspended or reduced flights between the two countries.

Last week, the Trump administration declared a public health emergency and announced restrictions on people traveling to the U.S. from China. Now, foreign nationals who recently visited China aren’t allowed to enter the U.S., and returning American citizens are subject to 14-day quarantines.

On Saturday, the Defense Department announced it had agreed to house up to 1,000 people who may need to be quarantined upon arrival from overseas travel at four facilities, including Travis and Miramar.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon said it had also been asked to identify 11 military installations near major airports that could house about 220 additional people under quarantine, if needed. Those “tertiary locations,” each of which could accommodate about 20 travelers if backup housing options become full, included both Travis, which is not far from San Francisco International Airport, and March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, due to its proximity to Los Angeles International Airport, the Pentagon said in a statement.

In addition to the passengers arriving in the U.S. on Friday, nearly 550 people are already under federal quarantine at military bases in California.

Two jets carrying about 350 passengers fleeing China landed in the state on Wednesday morning — one at Travis Air Force Base and one at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. All of the passengers were placed under a mandatory 14-day federal quarantine.

Five of the people quarantined at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar have been taken to local hospitals after showing symptoms of the virus, the CDC has said.

In addition, 195 Americans who were evacuated from the U.S. Embassy in Wuhan have been under quarantine at March Air Reserve Base since late last month. Of the group, two children were taken to local hospitals after developing fevers. On Monday, one of the children was returned to the base after testing negative for coronavirus. Test results for the second child are still pending.

In a separate incident, another person traveling from mainland China was transferred from Los Angeles International Airport to March Air Reserve Base on Monday. That person was screened for the virus and released after a short quarantine, officials said.


© 2020 the Los Angeles Times