Two jets carrying about 350 Americans have arrived in California at Travis Air Force Base after fleeing the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China.
One of the aircraft refueled at the base near Vacaville before heading to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego, where it arrived shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday. According to the U.S. Northern Command, the travelers are subject to a 14-day federal quarantine under orders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At Miramar, space has been set aside at a bachelor quarters complex and a base inn to house the passengers, who include families with children.
According to Dr. Christopher Braden, a deputy director with the CDC deployed to handle repatriation flights from China, everyone on the planes was screened for symptoms of coronavirus before boarding in China. They will undergo the same screening process when they land at Miramar.
“If there is anybody who is ill or who has fever, they are not allowed on the plane,” Braden said. “Once they arrive, another screening is the first thing that we will do on this end, and if there are any people who have symptoms and/or fever, consistent with coronavirus infection, they are transported to a medical facility for a full medical evaluation and isolation.”
Miramar and Travis are two of the four U.S. facilities the Department of Defense tapped to house quarantined Americans. The others are Ft. Carson in Colorado and Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. March Air Force Base in Riverside County has also set up tents on its tarmac in preparation for any passengers who may be diverted to the base for screenings.
Last week, a plane carrying a group from Wuhan landed at March. Nearly 200 people remain under quarantine there, where they will be monitored for symptoms until the virus’ 14-day incubation period has ended.
On Monday, another person traveling from mainland China was transferred from Los Angeles International Airport to the base. The traveler will be isolated from the other people and will remain under quarantine for the next few days.
To date, there have been nearly 500 deaths in mainland China and one in the Philippines, and more than 24,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally. The CDC has confirmed 11 cases of the virus in the United States, including six in California.
San Diego Union-Tribune writers Andrew Dyer and Paul Sisson contributed to this report.