Japanese airline crew at Los Angeles International Airport wearing masks on February 12 2020. Picture: AFP/DANIEL SLIM
Japanese airline crew at Los Angeles International Airport wearing masks on February 12 2020. Picture: AFP/DANIEL SLIM

Los Angeles — A second person evacuated from Wuhan, China, to a US Marine base near San Diego has been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, raising the tally of confirmed cases in the US to 14, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Wednesday.

The patient was among 232 individuals placed under quarantine at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, after being airlifted from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan earlier in February, CDC spokeswoman Ana Toro said. A previous case of coronavirus was documented on Monday among the same group of evacuees, she said.

CDC officials said it appeared the two San Diego patients were separately exposed to the virus in China. The two arrived at Miramar on different planes and were housed in separate facilities on base. They have since been hospitalised.

“At this time there is no indication of person-to-person spread of this virus at the quarantine facility, but CDC will carry out a thorough contact investigation as part of its current response strategy to detect and contain any cases of infection with this virus,” Dr Christopher Braden, deputy director of the CDC’s National Centre for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, said in a statement.

To date, eight coronavirus cases have been documented in California, accounting for more than half of the 14 infections confirmed across the US, none of them fatal. Two cases have been confirmed in Illinois and one each in the states of Washington, Arizona, Wisconsin and Massachusetts.

Only two of the 14 cases are believed to have been transmitted person-to-person within the US — both between married couples after one of the spouses returned home from a recent visit to China.

More than 800 Americans and family members evacuated from China aboard state department-chartered flights since late January have been placed under quarantine — the first imposed by the CDC in 50 years — at one of five US military bases in California, Texas and Nebraska, according to the CDC.

The initial group of nearly 200 evacuees were released earlier this week from March Air Reserve Base near Los Angeles after the 14-day presumed incubation period of the virus had lapsed without anyone falling ill, the CDC said. 

Reuters