The chartered plane sent to China to pick up Americans in the city of Wuhan has departed and is en route to the US. The plane left Wuhan before dawn on Wednesday (China time), a US State Department official informed The Associated Press.
The first stop of the plane will be Anchorage, where the passengers will be re-screened for the deadly Coronavirus. Hospitals have been notified and are on standby to treat or quarantine people who may be infected. The flight is scheduled to fly to Ontario and to California.
Wuhan is the epicentre of a new virus that has sickened thousands and killed more than 100. Nearly 1,300 new cases have been reported in China, authorities said on Tuesday. The Asian country is on high alert since cases of the virus has been spreading rapidly, causing a major global health risk.
As the disease continues to spread rapidly, the health authorities around the world are taking action to prevent a global epidemic, with cases reported in Australia, France, the United States and several Asian countries besides China.
The United States on late Monday issued its travel advisory for China to Level 3, suggesting its citizens to "reconsider travel" in view of threats from the outbreak of novel Coronavirus that has claimed the lives of over 80 people in the Asian country.
The advisory issued by the US State Department read: "Reconsider travel to China due to novel Coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. Some areas have increased risk."
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has updated the global risk degree of deadly coronavirus outbreak from 'moderate' to 'high' on January 26 and also cited an error in the previous report. This comes as the novel SARS-like virus has already claimed nearly 106 lives in China with 4,515 confirmed cases as other international leaders plan to evacuate their citizens from the country. According to the National Health Commission, 976 are in serious condition. Therefore, the WHO's risk assessment for China is 'very high'.
(Image credits: PTI)