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Four chartered flights are evacuating US citizens from Wuhan this week. An official says they are likely the last

Passengers wear protective masks to protect against the spread of the Coronavirus as they arrive at the Los Angeles International Airport, California. (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

The chartered flights carrying US citizens from Wuhan, China, this week are likely to be the last.

Two flights out of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, landed Wednesday morning in California, bringing the number of such flights arriving in the US since January 29 to three.

Another two flights from Wuhan are scheduled to come later this week — one headed to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; the other going to Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The State Department does not anticipate chartering any flights after this week, a State Department official said Tuesday.

Two flights landed Wednesday

Two flights — carrying a total of about 350 passengers, according to the US Defense Department — landed Wednesday morning at Travis Air Force Base, located between San Francisco and Sacramento.

Passengers from one of the planes will stay at Travis, where they will be under a 14-day quarantine managed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The other plane will refuel at Travis before taking its passengers to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. Those passengers, like the ones staying at Travis, also will be kept under quarantine for 14 days, Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col Chris Mitchell said.

These flights come about a week after the first US government-arranged flight left Wuhan. That first chartered plane, carrying nearly 200 US citizens — including diplomats and their families — arrived January 29 at March Air Reserve Base in Southern California, where they also are under a 14-day quarantine.

About 1,000 Americans live in Wuhan, and priority on chartered flights was given to US citizens who are “most at risk for contracting coronavirus” if they stay in the city, the State Department has said.

Father waits to reunite with wife and children

San Diego resident Ken Burnett said his wife and two young children are believed to have been on one of the flights that landed in California on Wednesday.

The three were holed up in a high-rise apartment for about two weeks in Wuhan, which was virtually shut down because of the outbreak. Burnett, waiting for them in the United States, said the family struggled for information and assistance from officials to get seats on the plane.

“We feel frustrated with that process,” Burnett told CNN. “But in the end, we just want our family safe, however that has to be done.”

“Until I know they are here, that’s when I really will celebrate.”

There have been more than 24,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide — the vast majority in China — with a death toll of at least 492.

Everyone aboard the chartered flights were screened for symptoms before they departed and will subjected to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention screenings and requirements for monitoring, the State Department official said.

US citizens returning from China on commercial flights are being rerouted to airports that can handle extra health screenings, and passengers may be subject to quarantine, according to new federal rules that went into effect Sunday.

Beijing has criticized the United States’ response to the coronavirus outbreak, including temporarily denying foreign nationals entry to the US if they had been in China in the previous 14 days.

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