00:18 GMT10 April 2020
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    Five people who arrived at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, on chartered flights out of Wuhan, China, on Friday are showing symptoms of the deadly 2019 novel coronavirus.

    On Friday, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesperson Jason McDonald confirmed that the patients had been checked into a local hospital in northern California to determine the cause behind their symptoms.

    “Anyone who may appear to be symptomatic will be transported to an area hospital and tested to try to determine what’s causing the fever,” McDonald is quoted as saying by CBS.

    McDonald also noted that 53 out of the 201 people who arrived on chartered planes from Wuhan Friday remain at Travis Air Force Base, joining another 170 evacuees who are currently undergoing a 14-day quarantine at the facility. The evacuees on the base are aged between two and 65. Most of them are American citizens who live in Wuhan or have recently traveled to the city, located in China’s Hubei Province. 

    “While this is an unprecedented action, we are facing an unprecedented health threat. We are utilizing all of our tools in our tool box,” CDC spokesperson Henry Walke is quoted as saying, referring to the use of US military bases as quarantine centers.

    Currently, six US bases are holding evacuees from China: March Air Reserve Base, Travis Air Force Base and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, all in California; Fort Carson in Colorado; Lackland Air Force Base in Texas; and Camp Ashland in Nebraska. The US Defense Department announced on Thursday that 11 more bases may be made available to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to quarantine more evacuees from China.

    The quarantine measures were announced on January 3. Alex Azar, the US secretary of HHS, declared that any foreign nationals, other than immediate family of US citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled to China within the previous 14 days could be denied entry into the US. As for US citizens who have been in Hubei Province, where the virus originated, they "will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine to ensure they’re provided proper medical care and health screening.”

    The US Indo-Pacific Command also confirmed last week that US troops were told to leave China, and any travel to the country by service members or civilians in the command has been banned.

    According to the latest data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science, 40,000 people worldwide have been infected with the coronavirus. The disease has led to 910 deaths, 871 of which occurred in Hubei.

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