UPDATED 3:10 PM PT — Friday, January 31, 2020
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has declared a public health emergency in response to the coronavirus outbreak. During a briefing at the White House on Friday, Azar said temporary measures will go into effect on Sunday. These measures will include suspending entry of foreign nationals, who pose a risk of transmitting the virus, into the U.S.
“At this time, the risk to Americans remains low and we are working to keep it that way,” he said. “We will continue our work to monitor, respond to and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.”
As part of the Administration’s work to protect Americans and respond to the 2019 Novel #Coronavirus outbreak, today I signed a public health emergency declaration. pic.twitter.com/cpQzmgu9VI
— Secretary Alex Azar (@SecAzar) January 31, 2020
The secretary also said any Americans returning from China’s Hubei province will be under a mandatory 14 day quarantine. Those returning from other parts of China will undergo screening and be on a self-imposed quarantine.
Azar added there will likely be more coronavirus cases in the U.S., including cases of limited person-to-person transmission. More than 200 people have died from the coronavirus in China so far.
The fast spreading virus has caused two major U.S. airlines to halt all flights to China. On Friday, Delta announced it was canceling all U.S. flights to China between February 6th and April 30th. American Airlines will halt flights between the two countries until March 27th.
United has canceled several flights between February 1st and 8th, but held back on canceling all flights.
The State Department issued a travel advisory on the same day, which warned Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to China.
TRAVEL ALERT : U.S. Department of State raised its travel advisory for China from Level 3 to *Level 4*, which means “do not travel to China.” Previously alert level 3 on Monday, which means “reconsider travel to China due to the novel coronavirus.” https://t.co/PIF8qTkrGX pic.twitter.com/jNMlPUf9D1
— Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) January 31, 2020
“By imposing temporary travel restrictions on China, the president has taken decisive action to protect Americans against the Wuhan coronavirus,” stated Sen. Tom Cotton. “I commend the administration for taking the situation seriously and erring on the side of caution.”
READ MORE: World Health Organization Declares Coronavirus Outbreak A Global Health Emergency
Original Source -> Public health emergency declared over coronavirus outbreak