Plane evacuating U.S. citizens from Wuhan to refuel in Anchorage

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTVF) A flight evacuating 240 U.S. citizens from Wuhan, China, is scheduled for a refueling stop in Anchorage sometime this week.

Press releases from the Department of Health and Social Services and Ted Stevens International Airport (TSIA) issued on Monday state that the plane will make a refueling stop at TSIA’s North Terminal, which is closed to the public. (KTUU)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Wuhan is where a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first identified. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that as of January 28, the virus has 4,593 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally, and 106 deaths, all in China.

Press releases from the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and Ted Stevens International Airport (TSIA) issued on Monday state that the plane will make a refueling stop at TSIA’s North Terminal, which is closed to the public.

According to the press release issued by DHSS, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy said, “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.” He continued, saying, “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.”

The passengers will be screened in China, by Chinese and American health officials. Any passengers showing signs of illness will not be allowed to board. Passengers will be screened again when they arrive in the U.S. by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Anchorage Quarantine Station personnel. Passengers who become ill en route will be evaluated further. Passengers will also be monitored throughout their flight.

“We are working on infection, and prevention, and control strategies including ensuring appropriate triage, early recognition, and source control if cases are identified,” said Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer, during a press conference. She continued, stating, “At the end of the day it’s also what we do as Alaskans to stay healthy and well. Eating well, taking care of yourself, washing your hands, avoiding sick contacts. And if you have symptoms, call your healthcare provider before going in so they can prepare for you.”

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