TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (KTXL) -- Two flights of coronavirus evacuees departed Japan Sunday.
One landed in San Antonio, Texas, and the other landed at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, where a new group of evacuees began another two-week quarantine.
Sarah Arana, from Los Angeles, landed at Travis Air Force Base late Sunday night.
“It was amazing,” she said. “I have nothing but gratitude for the immense effort that was put into getting us all back home.”
She said so far, her stay has been pleasant.
“It’s been wonderful. I mean, everybody here is ridiculously supportive, making sure that all of our needs are met,” Arana said. “It’s way nicer than anything I expected.”
Otis Menasco of Granite Bay thought he too was heading to Fairfield, only to find out mid-flight he was en route to San Antonio. He said he shared a cargo plane with more than two dozen passengers who tested positive for the new coronavirus.
“We would have not gotten off that ship if we had known those 14 people were on that plane,” he told FOX40.
He said medical staff tried to keep the 14 infected passengers away from the healthy travelers but it was still too close for comfort for Menasco and his wife.
“They did have them quarantined in a plastic tent but they’re still breathing, the air is still filtering through that plane. We're wearing masks the entire time but it did put a lot of fear in us,” Menasco said.
New images from inside the cargo plane that landed at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland this morning. Healthy travelers shared the flight with more than two dozen travelers who tested positive for the #Coronavirus but are not yet showing symptoms. (Courtesy: Otis Menasco) @FOX40 pic.twitter.com/fltFRXKffY
— Bridgette Bjorlo (@bridgettebjorlo) February 18, 2020
When he landed at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Monday morning he said conditions were far from ideal.
For starters, he said the air conditioning in the building he’s being housed in does not work and those in quarantine have to keep their doors and windows open to stay cool in the Texas heat.
“We think we’re in a dangerous situation right now,” Menasco said.
But for some evacuees, their time in quarantine is nearing the finish line.
Monday was day 13 for San Bernardino’s Jeffrey Ho at Travis Air Force Base.
“It just feels like I fell into like a different universe because I've been trapped for so long,” he said.
The first group of evacuees and the second group are staying at different hotels at Travis Air Force Base.
Ho had advice for those just entering the quarantine zone.
“Just relax and don’t be too scared,” he said. “I assume that we’re all in good hands. Enjoy the quarantine because it’s not that often that Uncle Sam would pay for a 14-day vacation.”
Some evacuees in Ho’s group are scheduled to go home as early as Tuesday if they pass a morning health exam.
Ho has a flight out of San Francisco booked for Wednesday.