The Department of Defense said that it is cooperating with multiple government agencies by offering to house 300 people on military bases.
“In support of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Defense is prepared to receive two Department of State-chartered evacuation flights from Wuhan, China currently scheduled to arrive on February 7th,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
One of the aircraft will refuel at Travis Air Force Base and continue on to Omaha, Nebraska via Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. The other aircraft is en route to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California via Vancouver, Canada.
“Our goal in bringing these evacuees back, and making sure that they’re safely quarantined for 14 days, to make sure that there is no spread of the virus from this group and that they’re managed safely while they’re here, that they have their healthcare needs met, “ said Captain Jennifer McQuiston with the CDC.
Those who clear quarantine will be given government travel assistance to return home. Those who get sick will be taken to hospitals that specialize in treating infectious diseases.
The facilities will be guarded by the U.S. Marshalls Service to ensure that no one gets in or out.
Coronavirus, labeled 2019-nCoV by the World Health Organization (WHO), is suspected to have been spread initially by bats in Wuhan, China, then by person-to-person transmission through respiratory droplets, and possibly through contact with infected persons and inanimate objects that have been touched by carriers.
The disease causes respiratory symptoms similar to SARS and MERS, also coronaviruses, and initially appears to spread faster (R0 of 1.5-5.5), but so far has a lower reported mortality rate (~3%).
The latest reported figures estimate 31,520 infected, 638 deaths, and 1,750 recoveries.