Anchorage, AK --
Update 01/29/2020 3:23 AM:
After being screened twice by health officials, no passengers showed signs of illness. The plane took off around 2:30 A.M. and departed for March Air Force Base in Riverside County, CA.
Original 01/28/2020 9:45 PM:
Just before 9:30 a plane carrying roughly 201 U.S. citizens evacuating from Wuhan, China landed at Anchorage's Ted Stevens International Airport.
As of today, the virus has killed at least 132 people in China. More than 5,900 people have been infected in more than a dozen countries, including five confirmed cases here in the United States.
The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that the flight carrying U.S. citizens evacuating from Wuhan would stop in Anchorage, AK to refuel.
Before their departure from Wuhan, all passengers and flight crew underwent health screenings by Chinese health officials and U.S. health officials. Anyone with signs or symptoms of illness were not allowed to board the aircraft. All passengers continued to be monitored numerous times during the flight.
When they landed, all passengers were re-screened by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Anchorage Quarantine Station personnel. Providence Medical Center in Anchorage is on high-alert, ready to treat anyone that shows symptoms of the virus.
The flight landed at Ted Stevens' North Terminal, which is completely separate from the public and also has its own ventilation system, therefore there is said to be no threat to the public. The terminal only operates during the summer travel season so travelers coming to and from the airport will not have access to the North Terminal whatsoever.
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."
Following the refuel, the passengers were originally scheduled to continue on to Ontario International Airport in Ontario, CA, but it was announced just after six o'clock that the flight had been re-routed to land at March Air Force Base in Riverside County, CA.
This is a developing story. Check back for the latest details.