WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration on Friday declared a public health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak and said it would take the extraordinary step of barring entry to the United States of foreign nationals who have traveled to China.
Starting on Sunday, U.S. citizens who have traveled to China’s Hubei Province within the last 14 days will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told a media briefing at the White House on Friday.
The administration will also limit flights from China to seven U.S. airports, he said.
“The actions we have taken and continue to take complement the work of China and the World Health Organization to contain the outbreak within China,” Azar said.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said there were six confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States. He said there were 191 individuals under investigation for the disease.
Redfield said the risk to the U.S. public from the outbreak is low.
The flu-like virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and was first identified earlier this month, has resulted in 213 deaths in China.
More than 9,800 people have been infected in China and more than 130 cases reported in at least 25 other countries and regions, with Russia, Britain, Sweden and Italy all reporting their first cases on Thursday or Friday.
The U.S. State Department warned Americans on Thursday not to travel to China because of the epidemic.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Sandra Maler; editing by Diane Craft)