American under coronavirus quarantine after trying to leave California base

Wuhan evacuations
A plane carrying U.S. citizens evacuated from China’s Wuhan province amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak lands at March Air Force Reserve Base in Riverside on Wednesday.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times )

Riverside County health officials have issued a quarantine order for one of the passengers from Wuhan, China, who was evacuated to March Air Reserve Base after fleeing the coronavirus outbreak overseas.

After the passengers were asked to remain at the base under observation, the traveler tried to leave the facility, prompting Dr. Cameron Kaiser with the Riverside County Public Health Department to issue the quarantine order Thursday. The passenger now must stay at the base for the entire 14-day incubation period of the virus, or until the person is otherwise cleared, authorities say.

The State Department chartered a private plane to evacuate diplomats stationed at the Wuhan consulate, along with their families. On Wednesday, 201 Americans, including a month-old baby and several teenagers, arrived in California after fleeing the outbreak in China.

There is nothing to indicate that the passenger, or any of the others who arrived in California on Wednesday, has contracted the coronavirus, health officials said. All of the passengers are continuing to undergo health evaluations.

There have been only a handful of coronavirus cases diagnosed in the U.S., with one each in Los Angeles and Orange counties, as well as in Chicago, Arizona and Washington state. But on Thursday, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency over the outbreak.