Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Personnel in protective clothing approach an aircraft, chartered by the U.S. State Department to evacuate government employees and other Americans from the novel coronavirus threat in the Chinese city of Wuhan, after it arrived at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California, U.S., January 29, 2020.

MIKE BLAKE/Reuters

The 195 Americans evacuated from the Chinese city at the centre of the new virus outbreak are undergoing three days of testing and monitoring at a California military base to ensure they do not show signs of the illness, officials said Wednesday.

The people flown out of China on a plane chartered by the U.S. government have not been quarantined, Dr. Chris Braden of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters after the plane landed at March Air Reserve Base.

Authorities said those evacuated, including U.S. consular employees based in the Chinese city of Wuhan and families with children, are technically not required to stay on the base. But all 195 passengers have agreed to stay for up to three days while they are evaluated for the illness that’s infected thousands and killed more than 100, the CDC’s Dr. Nancy Messonnier said.

Story continues below advertisement

Officials initially said there were 201 passengers, but the CDC said later that number included the six members of the plane’s crew.

If any passengers decide they want to leave the base 60 miles (96 kilometres) east of Los Angeles before full medical evaluations are completed, U.S. officials would discuss their request, said Dr. Nancy Knight of the CDC.

“They are sitting in the middle of a military base,” Knight said. “Any discussion around departure would be just that: it would be a discussion.”

Braden described people as being “very happy to be here,” where they’re getting housing, medical attention and testing for the virus.

“They wanted to know their status,” he said.

Officials could quarantine any of those evacuated on a case-by-case basis if officials determine they need to do so, Braden said.

It can take up to 14 days for someone who is infected to develop symptoms, health officials believe.

Story continues below advertisement

If passengers from the chartered flight show no signs of the virus and leave the base, they will continue to be monitored by public health officials at their destinations for the remainder of a period lasting 14 days, he said.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough and in more severe cases, shortness of breath or pneumonia.

None of the passengers showed signs of having the virus when they were screened before leaving Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, or when they were screened again during a refuelling stop in Anchorage, Alaska.

The jet landed at the California base shortly after 8 a.m. A ground crew dressed in white approached the aircraft, and three charter-style buses parked near the plane. About 40 minutes after landing, people could be seen walking from the plane to the first bus, which then departed. Another bus pulled up next to the plane’s baggage compartment.

All the passengers already underwent two health screenings in China and the CDC screened them twice more in Anchorage. One passenger received medical attention for a minor injury that happened before boarding the airplane in China, Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, told reporters after the plane left.

Some of those expected on the flight from Wuhan were not allowed to board because they did not have documents they needed to enter the U.S., Braden said. One person with a fever also was denied boarding, he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Wuhan is the epicentre of a new virus, which has largely sickened people in China and where all the deaths have been. China has cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities in Hubei province to prevent people from spreading the virus farther.

In addition to the United States, countries including France, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have planned evacuations of their citizens from Wuhan.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies