RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — March Air Reserve Base has built three large tents as a precaution as new reports that there are more than 17,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and more than 360 deaths in China.

According to officials, the tents were set up after federal officials asked the base to have housing for at least 250 more people in individual rooms in the event that a plane carrying passengers who needed to be medically screened was temporarily diverted to the base for bad weather or refueling needs.

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“Because of the time involved in constructing the tents, officials decided to have them in place in case any planes were unexpectedly diverted to March,” Brooke Federico, a public information officer for Riverside County, said.

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The World Health Organization reported Saturday that there were now 132 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in 23 countries outside of China, including one death in the Philippines.

In the United States, there are 11 confirmed cases, six of which are in California — two in Santa Clara County, two in San Benito County, one in Los Angeles County and one in Orange County.

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Public health officials stress that the flu is a bigger threat to Americans who have not been to China or been in contact with people who have recently been to China who are sick.

“Right now, there’s no reason for Americans to panic.” Robert O’Brien, White House National Security Advisor, said. “This is something we think is a low risk in the United States.

To mitigate those risks, all planes arriving from China will be routed through 11 airports in the United States — including Los Angeles International — where passengers will undergo an enhanced medical screening.

LAX was also working to mitigate the possibility of an outbreak by deep-cleaning bathrooms and other public areas and installing more than 100 hand sanitizer stations throughout the airport.

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