TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE (CBS SF) — Five evacuees that were airlifted out of China last week to Travis Air Force Base and hospitalized after displaying possible symptoms of coronavirus do not have the illness, federal health officials said Wednesday.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said intensive test on the five — which included a child — “today indicate all five were negative for COVID-19.”
Travis is one of six military bases designated by the Pentagon as landing spots for the flights from China.
Officials said 233 evacuees from two separate flights remain quarantined inside a converted hotel on the base.
The evacuees range in age from under 2 to over 65. Most are American citizens who either traveled or lived in Hubei province, where Wuhan is the provincial capital.
“While this is an unprecedented action, we are facing an unprecedented health threat,” CDC Dr. Henry Walke said at the start of the quarantine. “We are utilizing all of our tools in our tool box.”
KPIX 5 was able to speak with a family that was part of the group being quarantined. Daisy Roth had been traveling in China visiting family with her two young daughters, ages 5 and 10 months old.
“Exhaustion is really the overriding emotion,” said Roth.
Her husband Sam Roth is now waiting for his family to come home to Wisconsin, but he knows they will have to remain at Travis for at least two weeks.
“This whole trip, I’ve been worried about their immune system. I’m going to let them rest,” he said.
The quarantined travelers will receive health evaluations to check for symptoms of the virus and have their temperature taken twice a day. They are not restricted to their rooms, but each family unit was told to stay 6 feet (nearly 2 meters) away from other families, along with other precautions.
“We don’t want kids to share toys between the families,” Walke said.
Meanwhile, the number of new cases in China dropped for a second straight day in the virus outbreak that has infected about 45,000 people and killed more than 1,100, health officials said Wednesday.
While most of the infections have been in China, it has gradually rippled overseas. In Japan, 39 new cases were confirmed on a cruise ship quarantined at Yokohama, bringing the total to 174 on the Diamond Princess.
A Formula One race in Shanghai in April became the latest event canceled because of the virus. Nokia, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom became the latest companies to pull out of a major wireless trade fair this month in Spain that usually draws 5,000 to 6,000 Chinese visitors.
The National Health Commission said 2,015 new cases had been tallied on Tuesday, the second straight daily decline and down from nearly 3,900 a week ago. Commission spokesman Mi Feng said the situation is still grim but “we have seen some positive changes.”
Leading Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan told doctors in Wuhan that while the rest of China may have turned the corner, more efforts are still needed to stop the spread of the virus in the city and the rest of Hubei province, the hardest-hit area.
The total number of cases in mainland China reached 44,653 and the death toll hit 1,113. Two people have died elsewhere, one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.
© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.