Washington: The United States announced on Friday that a public health emergency had been declared and foreign nationals who had traveled to China in the past two weeks to curb the spread of a deadly new virus were temporarily banned.
Far-reaching new restrictions are also being imposed on American citizens, and those returning from the province at the epicenter of the disease will be placed in mandatory 14-day quarantine facilities, Health Minister Alex Azar said.
US citizens who come from other parts of China are subjected to a health check at the ports of entry and then subjected to a monitored self-quarantine at home.
"I announced today that coronavirus is a health emergency in the United States," Azar said during a meeting at the White House, adding that the guidelines will take effect on February 2, 5:00 p.m. CET would.
"Foreigners, with the exception of the immediate family of US citizens and permanent residents who have traveled to China for the past 14 days, are denied entry into the United States for that time," he added.
The restrictions apply to people who have traveled to the designated areas in the last two weeks before attempting entry.
There were seven confirmed U.S. cases of the 2019 corona virus, which originated from a live fish market in Wuhan, Hubei province in December.
The World Health Organization has already declared the epidemic a global emergency, and the death toll in China has increased to 259 while total infections have reached almost 12,000 and exceeded the SARS epidemic of two decades ago.
Three US airlines, American, Delta and United, said they would soon stop all flights to China.
Previously, officials had imposed 14-day quarantine orders on 195 Americans who had been evacuated from Wuhan in the air. It was the first time in more than 50 years that a federal regulation of this type was enacted. The last case concerned a person who was examined for smallpox in the 1960s.
A plane with the repatriated citizens, including diplomats and their families, landed at March Air Reserve Base, Riverside, California on Wednesday. Officials initially said passengers were asked to voluntarily isolate themselves for up to 72 hours.
The early signs were good, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said none of the people had symptoms of the novel 2019 coronavirus.
One of the people tried to leave the base and was quarantined by the state of California, CDC official Marty Citron said before the federal action.
The repatriated group submitted samples for testing at the CDC headquarters in Atlanta. However, the authorities are not sure whether their diagnostic tools are correct.
"In the cases that are in the hospital, we see people who have detectable viruses and who do not have the technical virus and three days later they have detectable viruses," said Robert Redfield, CDC director.
Since the extent of the asymptomatic transmission was not yet clear, no negative test was used as a release criterion.
"It is not a terrible test, but it is not an absolute test," added CDC immunologist Anthony Fauci.
Despite what appear to be drastic measures, the US public "shouldn't be guided by fear or panic," CDC chief Nancy Messonnier said, but should take normal precautions to stop the spread of respiratory viruses.
This includes washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, disinfecting surfaces, staying at home in the event of illness and covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throwing it in the trash.
"We currently do not recommend the use of face masks for the general American public," said Messonnier. "This virus does not spread to your communities." Http://zeenews.india.com/ "Please do not assume that an Asian person has this new corona virus," she added, noting that there are four million Chinese Americans in the United States.