Trump administration declares health emergency over coronavirus

Tuesday, 04 Feb, 2020

China's ambassador in Geneva says the World Health Organization's decision to declare a virus outbreak a global emergency was warranted but cautions against "unnecessary panic" or "excessive measures" in response.

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 traveled to China.

At least two Central American countries say they will turn back visitors who have recently been in China.

In addition, the temporarily suspending entry of most travelers arriving from China, or who have recently been in China, if they are not US citizens.

"We understand this action may seem drastic".

"We are preparing as if this were the next pandemic, but we are hopeful still that this is not and will not be the case", Messonnier added. The last time the CDC ordered such a quarantine was over 50 years ago, for smallpox. "We would rather be remembered for overreacting than underreacting".

Health experts believe symptoms of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

They later tested negative for the coronavirus.

Russian Federation said it would evacuate more than 2,500 of its citizens holidaying on China's Hainan island, far from the epicentre of the outbreak, a day after sealing its remote far-eastern border.

"Right now I'm in a state of guilt, remorse and self-reproach", said Ma Guoqiang, the municipal Communist Party secretary for Wuhan. "We are working closely with them to determine how those travelers will be processed".

According to China's foreign ministry on Friday (Jan 31), the government is preparing to send charter planes overseas to bring home its citizens who are from Hubei, where the novel coronavirus originated late previous year.

The action will restrict all foreign nationals who have been to China - other than immediate family members of American citizens and permanent residents - from entering the U.S. With the addition, Japan now has 16 confirmed cases.

Numerous outbreak patients in Wuhan, China, have been reported to be associated with a large fish and animal market, suggesting an animal-to-human (possibly snake) spread. She also noted increased reports of person-to-person transmission in the US and elsewhere.

The number of cases skyrocketed this week, and the USA warned its citizens not to visit China as a wave of panic and infections increase.

One unidentified person tried to leave the base and was ordered to stay in quarantine for the entire incubation period or until otherwise cleared, Riverside County Public Health said Thursday.

- Avoid close contact with sick people. "The virus is not spreading widely across the community".

The quarantine, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, amounts to recommended movement restrictions for people who have been exposed but are not yet sick.

Despite these drastic measures, Azar emphasized that risk to the American public remains low, and said these efforts are a way to keep risk low.

Passengers wear protective masks to protect against the spread of the Coronavirus as they arrive at the Los Angeles International Airport, California, on 22 January 2020.

The 195 Americans who were flown from Wuhan to the USA will also be quarantined for 14 days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced earlier today (Jan. 31) during a separate news conference. That eclipses the 5,327 cases reported in China during the 2003 SARS outbreak. Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems.

Wuhan officials have been criticised online for withholding information about the outbreak until the end of past year, despite knowing about the new illness weeks earlier.

Three major airlines - United, American and Delta - announced today that they were canceling all flights to China.

Outside China, 18 countries have now reported cases of coronavirus. Cases recorded in Taiwan, Germany, Vietnam, Japan, France and the United States involved patients who had not been to China.