US State Department Charter Flight Departs China Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Jan 28, 2020, 5:12 PM | Updated: Feb 17, 2020, 12:20 pm

Two residents walk in an empty Jiangtan park on January 27, 2020 in Wuhan, China. As the death toll...

Two residents walk in an empty Jiangtan park on January 27, 2020 in Wuhan, China. As the death toll from the coronavirus reaches 80 in China with over 2700 confirmed cases, the city remains on lockdown for a fourth day. (Photo by Getty Images)

(Photo by Getty Images)

(CNN) – A California-bound flight chartered by the U.S. State Department left the China city at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak on Wednesday morning local time, a department spokesman said.

About 240 Americans could be on the flight from Wuhan Tianhe International Airport. It will stop to refuel in Anchorage, Alaska, before arriving early Wednesday in Ontario, California, about 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, according to Alaska Department of Health and Social Services spokesman Clinton Bennett.

About three dozen U.S. diplomats and their families are expected to be on board, a U.S. official with knowledge of the matter told CNN. The State Department has said American citizens could board on a reimbursable basis if space is available.

Priority was been given to U.S. citizens who are “most at risk for contracting coronavirus” if they stay in city, a State Department official said. There are about 1,000 Americans living in Wuhan.

“All passengers will be subject to CDC screening, health observation, and monitoring requirements,” the State Department said in a statement.

There will be three health checks for people on the flight, according to Ivar Satero, director of the San Francisco International Airport.

The State Department said it was unable to accommodate everyone due to space limitations.

“The Department of State is working diligently with the government of China to identify alternative routes for U.S. citizens to depart Wuhan over land,” said an automated email reply from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

The State Department issued a Level 4 advisory for Wuhan, meaning “no American should travel to Wuhan while this virus continues to have impact,” Vice President Mike Pence said Monday.

The department also ordered personnel working at the U.S. Consulate General in Wuhan — the epicenter of the outbreak — to depart for the United States, the official said in a statement Monday.

The order came on the same day as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website that it was monitoring for symptoms of the Wuhan coronavirus at 20 U.S. airports.

The CDC had previously enhanced screening of passengers from Wuhan, China, at five airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The European Commission said it was sending two aircraft to evacuate European Union citizens out of Wuhan, according to a statement Tuesday.

The EU will cofinance the transport costs, with the first aircraft scheduled to depart from France on Wednesday morning and the second later this week, said Janez Lenarcic, commissioner for crisis management, in a statement.

About 250 French citizens will be transported in the first aircraft and more than 100 EU citizens from other countries will be on board the second flight, the statement said.

Other countries, including South Korea and Japan, will send in charters to evacuate its nationals from the epicenter of the outbreak.

KSL 5 TV Live


Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

15 days ago

FILE —  Respiratory virus illness activity continues to increase across the US.
(Joe Burbank/Orl...

Emma Benson

‘Not viruses to mess around with’: Experts urge caution during ongoing ‘tripledemic’

Experts say though not as severe as last year, this winter we're seeing another "tripledemic" – rising cases of COVID-19, flu and RSV in Utah.

2 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Emma Benson

‘The ICUs are full:’ Keep yourself and others healthy this holiday

It's time for holiday gatherings, but with more people around us comes a greater risk of getting sick.

2 months ago

Julianna Preece goes through the mountain of medical documents she's acquired for her health condit...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Herriman couple is suing CVS, says 5x Covid vaccine dose mistake caused health problems

A couple is suing a Utah CVS vaccination clinic, saying a nurse’s mistake led to the wife receiving five times the normal COVID-19 vaccine dose and caused serious health issues she’s still dealing with today.

3 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Associated Press

More free COVID-19 tests from the government are available for home delivery through the mail

Americans can order more free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery.

3 months ago

FILE - Doses of the anti-viral drug Paxlovid are displayed in New York, Aug. 1, 2022. The COVID-19 ...

Amanda Seitz, Associated Press

COVID-19 treatments to enter the market with a hefty price tag

The COVID-19 treatments millions of have taken for free from the federal government will enter the private market next week with a hefty price tag.

4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

US State Department Charter Flight Departs China Amid Coronavirus Outbreak