Coronavirus: About 350 US evacuees from virus-hit Wuhan land in California

The front gate of the Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, on Feb 4, 2020. Two jets carrying about 350 Americans from Wuhan landed at Travis Air Force Base, about midway between San Francisco and Sacramento, KNTV television reported. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Two planes carrying about 350 Americans out of Wuhan, China, arrived at a US military base in California on Wednesday, (Feb 5) in Washington's latest effort to bring its citizens home from the epicentre of the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak.

The travellers on the two State Department-chartered flights will be quarantined for 14 days, the US Defence Department said.

The jets landed at Travis Air Force Base, about midway between San Francisco and Sacramento, and one continued on to Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego after refuelling.

The United States and other countries are seeking to evacuate their citizens from China, where the coronavirus outbreak has killed 490 people, most in and around Wuhan, and infected more than 23,000.

Two deaths have been reported outside of mainland China, and at least 11 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in the United States.

KGO television in the San Francisco Bay area showed video of people in white coverall suits getting off the plane in the predawn darkness at Travis Air Force Base. San Diego television stations showed video of the second plane landing at Miramar.

The evacuees at Travis will be housed in a hotel on the base, the base said in a statement on its Facebook page. As in other places, the US Department of Health and Human Services will take charge of the care, transportation and security of the evacuees.

"A safety cordon will be established, away from residential housing, to ensure the Travis mission can safely continue," the statement said.

The Pentagon said it also preparing Camp Ashland, an Army National Guard base in Nebraska, to receive up to 75 people for quarantine.

In New Jersey, state Health Department officials said they quarantined an asymptomatic person who arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport on Tuesday after travelling to Hubei province, where Wuhan is located. The person will be monitored for symptoms for 14 days.

Wednesday's flights were the second and third US government flights taking people out of China. Nearly 200 Americans, mostly US diplomats and their families, were flown to March Air Force Base east of Los Angeles on Jan 29.

The Trump administration declared a public health emergency on Jan 31, and announced the extraordinary measures of barring the entry of foreign nationals who have recently visited China and imposing a mandatory two-week quarantine for travelers from China's most affected province of Hubei.

The State Department later issued a "Do Not Travel" to China advisory to US citizens.

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