U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has allowed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to use the military bases to house some 1,000 arrivals from overseas who may have to be quarantined due to the coronavirus.

HHS has requested the use of several military facilities capable of accommodating at least 250 people in individual rooms through Feb. 29, The Associated Press said citing a Pentagon statement said Saturday, Feb. 1. The health department would be responsible for all care, transportation, and security of the evacuees.

The Pentagon has selected some facilities for quarantine, including the 168th Regiment, Regional Training Institute, Fort Carson, Colorado; Travis Air Force Base, California; Lackland Air Force Base, Texas; and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California.

Nearly 200 Americans have been quarantined at a military base in Southern California after being evacuated from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Those returning from Hubei Province, where Wuhan is the capital, will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine.

China reported 304 deaths with 14,380 cases of coronavirus infection as of Sunday, Feb. 2, local time.

In a guidance issued on Friday aimed at reducing the potential threat of the novel coronavirus, Esper said he “approved a directive apprising our forces about precautions they should take, how to recognize the signs and symptoms of the virus.”

“The Department of Defense continues to work closely with our interagency partners as we monitor the situation and protect our service members and their families, which is my highest priority,” the defense secretary said.

Due to the threat of coronavirus, the Department of State has recently adjusted the travel advisory for China to a Level 4, meaning individuals should not travel there. It has also requested that all nonessential U.S. government personnel defer travel to China in light of the coronavirus. Commanders of individually affected geographic commands will be issuing specific guidance to their forces.

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