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Ontario Airport is a designated Repatriation Center and prepared for Wuhan, China flight

ONTARIO, Calif. ( — An evacuation flight carrying hundreds of U.S. Citizens traveling from Wuhan, China, where the Coronavirus originated, will possibly land at Ontario International Airport (ONT) this week.

The U.S. government is chartering the flight carrying up to 240 American Citizens, including nine children that will first arrive in Alaska, where occupants will be examined by personnel from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The occupants of the aircraft consist entirely of U.S. State Department employees, U.S. contractors who have been working in China, and other U.S. citizens, officials said.

“No occupants who present symptoms of illness will be allowed to proceed into the continental United States. Upon arrival in the continental U.S., possibly ONT, aircraft occupants will again be screened by CDC personnel and monitored for up to two weeks,” stated a county of San Bernardino news release.

Officials are focused on ensuring the arriving citizens are free of any illness before clearing them to proceed to their respective U.S. destinations and protecting the San Bernardino County community from the possibility of exposure to any contagions.

What is Coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. There is no coronavirus vaccine which is spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do and can infect both animals and humans. The Coronaviruses were first identified in the 1960s, but their origin is unknown.

In early January 2020, the World Health Organization identified a new type: 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China. By late January, there were 300 confirmed cases in China and a death count that was still in the single digits, but rising. And despite airport screenings, a traveler had brought the first case to the U.S. reports that most coronaviruses are not dangerous and almost everyone gets a coronavirus infection at least once in their life, most likely as a young child.

Three-dimensional drawing of Coronavirus.

What is a repatriation center?

Repatriation is the return of a U.S. citizen from a foreign country. The U.S. Repatriation Program (Program) exists to provide temporary assistance to citizens and their dependents that have repatriated and are in need of assistance.

Why Ontario Airport?

The Ontario and Oakland Airports were designated by the federal government as the official repatriation centers for California, about a decade ago. Various County departments have participated in numerous comprehensive repatriation exercises with state and federal agencies during the past several years to ensure the County and all other agencies are prepared for this type of event. 

The Ontario Airport will proceed under normal operations during this period. A reception area and temporary living quarters will be established on the airport away from the passenger terminals and other public areas. Ontario police and other public safety personnel are prepared to ensure no unauthorized persons enter or exit the area.

ontario international airport

What to do about Coronavirus?

In most cases, you won’t know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus.

In a worst-case scenario, the virus infection can spread to the lower respiratory tract (windpipe and lungs) resulting in pneumonia, especially in older people or people with weakened immune systems.

Health officials suggest washing your hands THOROUGHLY with soap and warm water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Keep your fingers away from your eyes, nose, and mouth!

According to WebMD, “even when a coronavirus causes MERS or SARS in other countries, the kind of coronavirus infection common in the U.S. isn’t a serious threat for an otherwise healthy adult. If you get sick, treat your symptoms and contact a doctor if they get worse or don’t go away.”

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