U.S. declares coronavirus public health emergency after imposing quarantines

Published: February 2, 2020  Updated: February 2, 2020 at 6:13 am EST

WASHINGTON, Jan 31 Reuters) – The Trump administration, while insisting the risk to Americans from coronavirus is low, nevertheless declared a public health emergency on Friday and announced the extraordinary step of barring entry to the United States of foreign nationals who have recently visited China.

In addition, U.S. citizens who have traveled within the past two weeks to China’s Hubei Province – epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic – will be subject to a mandatory quarantine of 14 days, the incubation period of the virus, officials said.

Americans who visited other parts of mainland China will undergo special health screening upon their return, followed by up to 14 days of “monitored self-quarantine,” under the temporary restrictions.

The emergency measures were unveiled by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at a White House briefing, shortly before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health authorities announced a seventh U.S. coronavirus case had been confirmed in Northern California.

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