Anchorage, AK --
The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced today that a flight carrying U.S. citizens evacuating from Wuhan, China due to the Coronavirus will be stopping in Anchorage, AK to refuel.
“Given Alaska’s proximity to Asia, we have been asked to assist our federal partners in this effort to facilitate travel out of China back to the United States to bring these U.S. citizens home,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “The State of Alaska, in combination with our local, federal and Tribal partners have been working closely to ensure the health and safety of all Alaskans while assisting with this request.”
Before their departure from Wuhan, all passengers and flight crew will undergo health screenings by Chinese health officials and U.S. health officials. Anyone with signs or symptoms of illness will not be allowed to board the aircraft. All passengers will continue to be monitored numerous times during the flight. Also, during the refueling stop, all passengers will be re-screened by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Anchorage Quarantine Station personnel. Any passengers who become ill en route will be further evaluated.
The flight will be landing at Ted Stevens' North Terminal, which is completely separate from the public and also has its own ventilation system.
Alaska currently has no cases of novel coronavirus or patients under investigation. However, out of an abundance of caution, DHSS has activated its Emergency Operations Center to help coordinate detection and response efforts.
“I’m grateful during events like this that we have a strong public health system in Alaska” said Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink. "I don't believe this flight puts us at any increased risk [of contracting the virus] otherwise we wouldn't allow it to land... it gives us a chance to support our fellow U.S. citizens who are trying to get home at this time."
Officials have not given an exact date of when the flight from Wuhan will land at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, but it will be before the end of the week.