By Sandra G. Leon
201 Americans that were evacuated from China’s Wuhan province because of the Coronavirus arrived at a military base in California this week but will not be forcefully quarantined.
According to officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the individuals volunteered to stay at March Air Reserve Base near Riverside for 3 days while they are monitored for symptoms of the virus considered to be very contagious. If they do not show any signs of the illness within the first three days, they can choose to go home for the full 14-day incubation period of the virus, or decide to stay at the base for further monitoring.
“If anyone demands to leave right now, that is where all of the partners would come together and talk about what needs to be done,” said Dr. Nancy Knight, the CDC’s Director of the Division of Global Health Protection.
The flight that arrived at March Air Base on Wednesday included diplomats and their families, along with other US citizens living in Wuhan. Priority was given to people that were at heightened risk of contracting the virus. The US State Department noted that about 1,000 US citizens were living in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis.
The State Department is helping to arrange transportation for other US citizens still wanting to leave Wuhan. The State Department issued a Level 4 advisory for Wuhan telling Americans not travel to the city until the virus is contained.
Coronavirus has already killed 132 people and infected nearly 6,000 more in and around Wuhan, China. Five cases have been confirmed in the United States, and the CDC has investigated 165 suspected cases in 36 states.
The Chinese government has basically shut down the Wuhan area by closing the airport, train routes, and highways in and out of one of China’s nine largest industrial cities. Wuhan’s population is approximately 11 million people, and it is one of China’s nine National Central Cities, which include Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin, among other major economic centers in China.