Alexandria residents desperate to evacuate China following coronavirus outbreak

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Two people from Alexandria are among those evacuating China in the wake of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

A U.S. Air Force plane sits at the March Field Air Museum near March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif. Jan. 29, 2020. An airplane carrying U.S. citizens being evacuated from Wuhan, China, will take off at March Air Reserve Base this morning. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Benjamin and Jacob Wilson, Jacob’s significant other, and the granddaughter of Donna Jeffcoat are in Wuhan trying to leave as evacuations efforts continue.

Countries, including the United States and Japan, began evacuating their citizens from the Chinese city hardest-hit by an outbreak of a new virus that has killed 132 people and infected more than 6,000 globally.

China, with 5,974 cases of the virus, has more infections than it did with SARS, though the death toll is still lower. China had 5,327 cases of SARS in the 2002-2003 outbreak. 348 people were killed in China during SARS. Severe acute respiratory syndrome killed nearly 800 people worldwide.

A plane carrying 201 Americans from the city at the center of the outbreak arrived in Southern California on Wednesday, Jan. 29. All passengers underwent health screenings in China and were screen twice in Anchorage, Alaska during a refueling stop before being allowed to continue on the trip.

Upon arrival stateside, all passengers will be quarantined for at least three days and monitored by the CDC. Those who show signs of illness and need to be tested may be held for up to 14 days.

Jeffcoat tells KALB there’s no word yet on why her relatives have not been able to board a plane to come back to the U.S.

Amidst the fears of the virus spreading to Louisiana, health officials are urging people to remain calm. A Baton Rouge doctor says hospitals across the state have been instructed on how to handle patients who are potentially infected with the coronavirus.

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