Plane carrying US evacuees from China amid coronavirus outbreak diverted to California air base

A plane carrying about 210 U.S. citizens evacuated from Wuhan, China—the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus—was diverted Tuesday to California’s March Air Reserve Base “for the logistics that they have,” an official said.

The plane was initially headed to Ontario International Airport in California.

Curt Hagman, the chairman of the San Bernandino County Board of Supervisors and a commissioner at the airport, said on social media that the CDC had informed him of its decision to divert the flight.

“Ontario International is one of the repatriation airports for the west coast and we are always prepared to receive our citizens abroad in times of emergencies,” Hagman said in a video posted to his YouTube channel. “We were prepared but the state department decided to switch the flight to March Air Force Base for logistics that they have.”

Hagman told the Los Angeles Times that he was given no other details about the flight.

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The aircraft had reportedly been chartered by the American government to fly out diplomats from the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan, as well as other citizens.

San Bernandino county was initially picked to serve as the repatriation point for roughly 240 U.S. citizens arriving from Wuhan, officials said.

“The Department of State has the lead for the safe and expedient ordered departure of US citizens. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are collaborating with the Department of State on the logistics of public health evaluations for every traveler on the flight. HHS and CDC are working with partners to ensure that any traveler who develops symptoms during their journey receives appropriate medical care.”

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The individuals on board the flight were set to be screened before take off, monitored during the flight by medical personnel and screened again when the plane landed at a fueling stop in Anchorage, AK.

“[The passengers would be] monitored on the last leg of the flight by medical personnel on board; evaluated upon arrival at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California; and then monitored for symptoms post-arrival,” the CDC added.

Passengers wear masks to prevent an outbreak of a new coronavirus in a subway station, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. The first case of coronavirus in Macao was confirmed on Wednesday, according to state broadcaster CCTV. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Passengers wear masks to prevent an outbreak of a new coronavirus in a subway station, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. The first case of coronavirus in Macao was confirmed on Wednesday, according to state broadcaster CCTV. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
(AP)

The U.S. State Department didn’t immediately respond to Fox News’ request to comment on why the decision was made.

Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche and Nick Givas contributed to the report

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