U.S. declares public health emergency over coronavirus


WASHINGTON, D.C. (KXAN) — The U.S. announced Friday afternoon that it’s declaring a public health emergency over the novel coronavirus.

Alex Azar, the secretary for Health and Human Services, shared this announcement during a news conference with other members of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force. This new measure came a day after the World Health Organization deemed the virus from China as a global emergency.

Azar explained that any American citizen returning to the U.S. from Hubei province, where the outbreak originated, will now have a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Meanwhile, any traveler from mainland China will undergo a health screening and a monitored self-quarantine once they’re back in the U.S.

A proclamation from Trump will also go into effect Sunday that will deny entrance into the U.S. from any foreign nationals who have traveled to China.

Additionally, the presidential proclamation directs any incoming flights from China to funnel to seven airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu and Los Angeles International Airport.

Passengers will then undergo screening to identify any symptoms of coronavirus.

Azar stated that the federal government will announce at a later time where the quarantine facilities will be located.

Despite taking these new preventative measures, the members of the president’s coronavirus task force stressed that they still think the coronavirus poses a “low risk” to Americans.

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