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Coronavirus Evacuation Flight Lands in Alaska

Authorities say all passengers passed screening
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2020 6:33 AM CST
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People wear masks at a metro station in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020.   (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
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(Newser) – A flight evacuating more than 200 American citizens from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak, landed in Alaska on Tuesday night—and none of them developed symptoms during the flight. Authorities say the evacuees, who were screened before leaving China, were checked again at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and all passengers were cleared, the Anchorage Daily News reports. "For many of us directly involved, this has been a moving and uplifting experience," said Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink. "The whole plane erupted in cheers when the crew said, 'Welcome home to the United States.'" The flight later departed, but authorities now say it will land at March Air Reserve Base in California, not Ontario International Airport as originally planned. More:

  • More screenings to come. The government says the evacuated US citizens, including diplomats, will be temporarily housed in California and will undergo additional health screenings during the repatriation process, the AP reports.

  • Brits will be quarantined. The British government, which also plans to repatriate citizens from Wuhan, says they will be placed in quarantine for two weeks after they are flown out on Thursday, the BBC reports. British Airways has now suspended all direct flights to and from China.
  • Australia not taking chances. Australia also plans to quarantine its citizens—a thousand miles offshore. "Isolated and vulnerable" citizens caught up in the outbreak will spend two weeks in quarantine in a detention center on Christmas Island, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  • First foreigners infected in China. In China, where there have now been more than 6,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 131 deaths, authorities say three cases have been reported among foreign residents, the South China Morning Post reports. A student from Pakistan and two Australian citizens are being treated in Guangdong province.
  • Relieved to be home. An evacuation flight from Wuhan landed in Tokyo on Tuesday, and evacuee Takeo Aoyama said he was happy to be home, the Guardian reports. "We were feeling increasingly uneasy as the situation developed so rapidly and we were still in the city,” Aoyama said. "We were not able to move freely, so we only had partial information. The restrictions on the flow of goods and transport were extremely strict."
  • Virus spreads far beyond Wuhan. In what experts describe as a worrying sign, new cases have surfaced overseas among people who had not visited China, the New York Times reports. The cases in Germany, Taiwan, Japan, and Vietnam show how the virus can be transmitted between people, health officials say. The cases include a Japanese man who drove a tour bus with passengers from Wuhan.
(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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