The deadly new coronavirus continued to spread Tuesday, with more than 24,000 cases and at least 492 deaths confirmed worldwide. The vast majority of the infections, and all but two of the deaths, were in mainland China.
The Pentagon said very early Wednesday that two more chartered flights evacuating about 350 Americans from the virus epicenter in Wuhan, China were scheduled to land in Southern California Wednesday. Theto an Air Force Base there last week.
Chinese officials have agreed to let American experts into the country as part of a World Health Organization team in the coming days, and senior members of the Communist Party have admitted “shortcomings and deficiencies” in the country’s response. President Xi Jinping declared “a people’s war of prevention” against the epidemic Monday, threatening punishment for anyone deemed to be neglecting their duties as control efforts ramped up.
There were 11 cases confirmed in the U.S. as of Tuesday, including six in California, one in Washington state, one in Arizona, two in Illinois and one in Massachusetts. More than 80 other Americans were being tested for the virus.
The U.S. government declared a public health emergency last week and barred foreign nationals from entering the country within two weeks of visiting China, unless they are immediate family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The State Department has warned Americans against all travel to China.