Trump declares health emergency, sets quarantines

White House considers ban on China flights amid coronavirus outbreak

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WASHINGTON – The Donald Trump administration declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a public health emergency in the United States on Friday, setting quarantines of Americans who have recently been to certain parts of China.

“The risk of infection for Americans remains low,” said Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services and chairman of the coronavirus task force set up by Trump. “We are working to keep the risk low.”

Azar described the new entry rules and quarantines as “prudent, targeted, and temporary.” He said the United States is working to complement efforts by China and the World Health Organization to contain the deadly virus in China.

U.S. citizens who have been in China’s Hubei province during the past 14 days and are returning to the U.S. States will undergo health screenings and be monitored during mandatory quarantines of up to 14 days, officials said.

Azar also announced a temporary suspension of entry into the United States of foreign nationals who pose a risk for the transmission of the coronavirus.

President Donald Trump

As a precaution, any U.S. citizen who has been anywhere else in mainland China beyond Hubei province will be screened when they return for evidence of coronavirus symptoms. They will also be subject to self-quarantines of up to 14 days and monitored by local health officials.

All flights from China to the U.S. will be funneled to one of seven airports that are designated ports of entry: New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta.

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