The U.S. Department of State is making plans to move personnel stationed in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus, to the U.S. in a one-time flight to San Francisco, a department spokesperson said in a statement.
The single flight is being arranged to transport personnel, but a limited number of passport-carrying private U.S. citizens may be allowed to board the reimbursable flight on Jan. 28, officials said.
The department said that capacity is "extremely limited" and if there is not enough space on the flight to transport all interested parties "priority will be given to individuals at greater risk from coronavirus."
The most recent flight from Wuhan to San Francisco was Tuesday, Jan. 21. A travel ban put in place in China to contain the deadly virus is affecting over 50 million people.
As of Saturday, 1,975 confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been reported, resulting in 56 deaths. The figures reported cover the previous 24 hours and mark an increase of 15 deaths and 688 cases.
China cut off trains, planes and other links to Wuhan on Wednesday, as well as public transportation within the city, and has steadily expanded a lockdown to 16 surrounding cities with a combined population of more than 50 million — greater than that of New York, London, Paris and Moscow combined.
U.S. citizens interested in traveling on the one-time flight can contact BeijingACS@state.gov with their full name, U.S. passport number, date of birth, gender, email address, phone number and Chinese visa information.