The Trump administration has declared that the coronavirus outbreak is a public health emergency and stated that it will temporarily bar entry into the United Stated for non-Americans traveling from China. Americans or immediately-related foreign nationals to U.S. citizens will still be allowed entry, but will be placed in quarantine for 14 days.
“This is a serious health situation in China, but I want to emphasize the risk to the American public currently is low,” said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director, Robert R. Redfield, published in The Guardian. “It is our goal to keep it that way.”
The United States announced the ban a day after the World Health Organization declared that the coronavirus outbreak was an international health emergency.
U.S. authorities have also begun to funnel all flights from China to seven major airports (New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle, and Honolulu) so that travelers can be screened for the virus before entering the country.
“We understand this action may seem drastic. We would rather be remembered for overreacting than underreacting,” the CDC’s Nancy Messonnier, published in The Guardian.
Joel Szabat, the assistant secretary for transportation, said that all three major air carriers have halted flights to China because of the outbreak, but there was no official travel ban.
“We have been seeing already a significant decrease in passengers going between the US and China,” said Szabat, published in The Guardian.
These moves are angering Beijing, who earlier had criticized a U.S. warning that advised against all travel to China.
Hua Chunying, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, published in The Guardian: “The World Health Organization urged countries to avoid travel restrictions, but very soon after that, the United States did the opposite. It’s truly mean.”