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U.S. declares coronavirus a public health emergency, will ban some foreign nationals :

January 31, 2020

Editor's note:  For the latest news on novel coronavirus, visit

U.S. officials declared novel coronavirus to be a public health emergency on Friday. They plan to quarantine citizens returning from China and restrict entry of foreign nationals who recently visited the country.

“These prudent, targeted and temporary actions will decrease the pressure on public health officials screening incoming travelers, expedite the processing of U.S. citizens and permanent residents returning from China and ensure resources are focused on the health and safety of the American people,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, J.D. said. “I want to stress the risk for infection for Americans remains low and with these and our previous actions we are working to keep the risk low.”

Beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern on Feb. 2, U.S. citizens returning from the Hubei province in China will undergo up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine in designated facilities. People returning from other part of China will undergo health screening and up to 14 days of self-quarantine at their home, monitored by local health officials.

Travelers from China will be funneled through seven major airports in Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle for screening.

In addition, President Donald Trump has signed a proclamation temporarily suspending foreign nationals from entering the U.S. if they have traveled to China in the past 14 days, with the exception of immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Earlier in the day, health officials also announced 195 citizens brought back to the U.S. from China will remain at a military base in California under mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

The Centers for Disease Control and U.S. State Department are warning people not to travel to China.

There have been six confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has been investigating more than 200 potential cases in 36 states.

Globally, there have been nearly 10,000 confirmed cases in 23 countries, although most have been in China. More than 200 people have died. Health officials expressed concern about the rapidly growing cases as well as reports the virus can spread even when someone has no symptoms.

The U.S. declaration of an emergency comes a day after the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.

Health care providers should be vigilant for patients with a fever or respiratory symptoms who have traveled to China or been in contact with someone who has coronavirus. Full CDC guidance is available at The CDC also has released detailed guidance on preventing the spread of coronavirus in health care settings at

In addition to the warnings about travel, officials recommend the general public avoid respiratory illnesses by washing their hands, covering their mouths when coughing and staying home when they are sick. Buying masks is not necessary.

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