U.S. health officials have issued a quarantine order for all 195 American evacuees from China amid the worsening coronavirus outbreak. The citizens flew from the city of Wuhan earlier this week, stopping briefly at a terminal in the Ted Stevens International Airport to refuel and undergo health screenings. Now, the Associated Press reports, the evacuees will spend two weeks in quarantine on a military base in California. It’s the first time in more than 50 years that the government has taken such a step.
Officials believe it can take up to 14 days for someone who is infected to develop symptoms. So far, tests for the virus have been negative. In the meantime, the State Department is preparing additional flights for Americans who want to leave China, according to the AP. However, as of Friday, according to Alaska Department of Health and Social Services spokesman Clinton Bennett, Ted Stevens “has not received any indication it will receive additional repatriation flights from Wuhan, China.”
The U.S. government has advised against all travel to China. As of Friday, the virus has infected almost 10,000 people globally in just two months, prompting the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak a global emergency. According to the AP, hours after the State Department issued its “Do Not Travel” advisory Friday, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines announced they will suspend all flights between the U.S. and China, joining several international carriers that have stopped flying to the country.
Alaska Airlines, the state’s largest commercial carrier, does not operate flights to Asia. According to Ted Stevens International Airport, all cargo and passenger flights from Wuhan are suspended through the facility, as well as the international airport in Fairbanks.
In Anchorage, school officials are issuing guidance to families concerned about the virus. There are no suspected cases of coronavirus in Alaska, and in a release, Anchorage School District Superintendent Deena Bishop wrote that educators are in close contact with state health officials. There is no reason for students to stay home from school because of outbreak fears, Bishop said, unless they are demonstrating acute health symptoms, recently traveled to mainland China, or came into contact with a person suspected of having the virus.