Passengers are taken off of the Kalitta Air Boeing 747-400 freighter and shuttled onto waiting buses at the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif., on January 29. Photo by Etienne Laurent/EPA-EFE
Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Two U.S. chartered evacuation flights carrying about 300 passengers have departed the central Chinese city of Wuhan amid the deadly coronavirus spread that's so far killed more than 600 people since December.
The Pentagon announced the departure of the evacuees late Thursday.
One of the planes headed for Travis Air Force Base in California, where it was set to refuel before continuing to Omaha, Neb., via Texas' Lackland Air Force Base. The other plane was headed for Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif., by way of Vancouver, Canada.
The flights occurred two days after some 350 people were evacuated to California from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV. The first evacuation flight from Wuhan was made Jan. 29.
A group of Canadians were among the group evacuated Friday, said foreign minister Francois Philippe Champagne. They planned to get off in Vancouver, he said.
Once in the United States, the passengers are subject to a 14-day quarantine managed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The goal of evacuating Americans ... is to bring them into a control quarantine environment under CDC observation for 14 days to ensure their health needs are met," said Capt. Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the CDC's Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology.
About 70 people were expected to be quarantined at Camp Ashland in Omaha. Nebraska Medicine said officials have been training to treat the evacuees. Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved a request Monday for federal aid to support housing there for as many as 75 people.
CDC officials told reporters they expected the evacuees to be healthy since they were screened several times previously. Those in San Diego will join a group from prior flights who are already under quarantine.
Chinese health officials said Friday more than 600 coronavirus patients have died. The United States has confirmed 12 cases.