Evacuation Flight From China Changes Destination, Lands At US Military Base

About 200 passengers escaping the 2019-nCoV outbreak in China landed at March Air Reserve Base in California
aircraft landing amid clouds
Asia (Vax Before Travel)

The US State Department evacuation Flight K4371 left China on January 28, 2020, landed in Alaska for fuel and is no longer headed to San Francisco or Orange County California airports.

The LA Times reported Curt Hagman, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, said in a video news release that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told local officials that the flight will be diverted to a military base “for the logistics that they have.”

This flight, with over 200 passengers, escaping the 2019-nCoV outbreak in China, landed shortly after 8 a.m. PST on January 29, 2020, at March Air Reserve Base (ARB), according to the AP.

March ARB is located about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, California, and is the home to the Air Force Reserve Command's Fourth Air Force Headquarters and the host of 452d Air Mobility Wing, the largest air mobility wing of the Fourth Air Force.

All of the passengers already underwent health screenings in China and were additionally screened for the 2019-nCoV in Anchorage, Alaska, by CDC staff.

The CDC says ‘Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.’

CDC and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are implementing enhanced health screenings to detect travelers with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing when entering the United States.

The screening procedures include:

  • Travelers fill out a short questionnaire about their travel, any symptoms, and contact information.
  • CDC staff takes the temperature of each traveler with a hand-held non-contact thermometer (thermometers that do not touch the skin) and observe the traveler for a cough or difficulty breathing. 
  • If sick travelers are identified, CDC evaluates them further to determine whether they should be taken to a hospital for medical evaluation and to get care as needed.

U.S. Quarantine Stations, located at ports of entry and land border crossings, use these public health practices as part of a comprehensive Quarantine System that serves to limit the introduction of infectious diseases into the United States and to prevent their spread.

Previously, the US Department of State notified U.S. citizens via a Level 4 Travel Advisory on January 23, 2020, which said ‘travelers should be aware that the Chinese government could prevent them from entering or exiting parts of Hubei province.’

UPDATE: Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the CDC’s director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, gave more details on the passengers. None of the travelers are currently showing any symptoms of illness, and all have voluntarily agreed to stay at March Air Reserve Base in California for at least 72 hours for monitoring. Dr. Messonnier said the passengers will also be tested for 2019-nCoV. And, the CDC will work with the California Department of Public Health and Riverside County Public Health to transport any passenger exhibiting symptoms to a hospital for further evaluation. 

Coronavirus travel news published by Vax-Before-Travel.