A Boeing 747 filled with about 200 evacuees from Wuhan, China, landed at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California at around 8:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. The evacuees included U.S.Department of State employees and some dependents fleeing the coronavirus epidemic that is quickly spreading around the country and around the world.

Wuhan is “ground zero” to the virus believed to have originated from a fish market in the city that sold wild animals alive and as food. It seems to be less lethal than the 2003-2003 SARS virus that killed over 800 people, but it also seems more easily spread from person to person due to it being contagious during the incubation period of about 10 days.

As soon as the plane landed, a team of medical officers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dressed in white protective suits, gathered to greet the passengers and assess their health through temperature checks and any observed respiratory symptoms.

According to the CDC and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), those showing no symptoms were asked to stay "on the base in housing to allow CDC medical officers to perform more thorough screening and to better understand each individual's exposure." Those showing any symptoms should be sent to a hospital for more evaluation.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that the passengers had already been subjected to four screenings, two in China prior to departing and twice more during a refueling stop at the International Airport in Anchorage, Alaska on Tuesday. The plane's crew was kept segregated from the passengers during the flight.

A statement released by the CDC said, "The CDC is committed to protecting the health and safety of Americans. At this time, we continue to believe the risk of coronavirus exposure to the general public is low. CDC is taking these measures to assess and care for these returning Americans to protect them, their loved ones and their communities."

Alyssa Farah, Department of Defense (DOD) also released a statement concerning the arrival of the Boeing 747. "DOD has assessed this support will not negatively impact readiness or critical operations, and we stand ready for their arrival.”

She continued, “HHS is responsible for all care of the evacuees, and DOD personnel will not be directly in contact with the evacuees and evacuees will not have access to any base location other than their assigned housing. Should routine monitoring of the evacuees identify ill individuals, HHS has procedures in place to transport them to a local civilian hospital. The department's primary responsibility at this time is the safety of our force, our families and our base communities.”

In the U.S. and Canada, eight cases have been confirmed. The death toll in China is 132, with more than 7,000 confirmed cases as of Wednesday.