Plane from Wuhan to arrive at MCAS Miramar

Thursday, 06 Feb, 2020

Kiwis and Australians fleeing the Chinese city of Wuhan will be flown to a military facility at Whangaparaoa, north of Auckland.

Two flights - carrying a total of about 350 passengers, according to the US Defense Department - landed Wednesday morning at Travis Air Force Base.

The charter flight landed about 1am AEST after departing from Western Australia's RAAF Base Learmonth, near Exmouth, about 9pm.

Passengers from Australia and the permanent residents of the country were being transferred there. Almost 200 people remain under quarantine there, where they will be monitored for symptoms until the virus' 14-day incubation period has ended.

Of the 243 passengers, five are younger than two years old while 89 are younger than 16.

Although no visitors will be allowed on-site, friends and family will be able to send the quarantined people items, New Zealand's Ministry of Health's director-general Ashley Bloomfield said. Sharemarkets in Shanghai and Shenzen fell sharply in response to the crisis on Monday after stocks in Japanese protective health mask companies surged.

None of those quarantined have tested positive for the coronavirus, but one child at the March Air Force Base was recently taken to a hospital after developing a fever, Riverside County health officials announced on Tuesday (Feb. 4).

Plane from Wuhan to arrive at MCAS Miramar
Plane from Wuhan to arrive at MCAS Miramar

The United States is preparing one or two additional planes to evacuate Americans on Thursday, after which it does not intend further flights, the official said.

Buses arrive at Whangaparāoa carrying New Zealanders from Wuhan.

"As long as they are healthy and their immediate family is healthy, our plan is to release them and help them get to their final destination", Messonnier said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne says the most vulnerable have been prioritised, with Qantas operating the chartered flights.

"We put in screening tools so that when you come to Emergency Department, they are asking travel history", said Anne Reeths, Infection Prevention Multi-site Director at Aurora BayCare Medical Center. The first was a man who died in the Philippines and the other was in Hong Kong. "The return seems remote".

Miramar and Travis are two of the four USA facilities the Department of Defense tapped to house quarantined Americans.

U.S. officials have also restricted flights from China to 11 designated airports deemed capable of carrying out enhanced screening.