US declares public health emergency over coronavirus, administration to bar entry of foreign nationals who pose transmission risk

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In this Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, photo, Bill Chen stands outside of customs at San Francisco International Airport after arriving on a flight from Shanghai, where he was conducting business and visiting family over the Lunar New Year holiday. Chen said his temperature was quickly screened at the Shanghai airport before he departed. He also filled out a health questionnaire that asked if he had traveled to Wuhan or had any contact with someone who had been in the city, the epicenter of the coronavirus. “I feel a little bit sorry for people traveling on the plane,” Chen said. “People have to be nervous in some way.” (AP Photo/Terry Chea)

WASHINHTON, D.C. (KETK) – Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar has declared a public helath emergency over the coronavirus Friday.

Starting Sunday at 5 p.m. ET, all passengers on flights to the U.S. who have been in Hubei province in China in the last 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of quarantine.

The city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, is located in Hubei.

It was the first time a federal quarantine has been ordered since the 1960s, when one was enacted over concern about potential spread of smallpox, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Any U.S. citizen who has been in the rest of mainland China will be actively screened at one of seven airports for risk and evidence of symptoms. If no symptoms are detected, the individuals will be allowed to complete their travel home and will be monitored by local health departments in isolation at home.

The seven airports are in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta.

American Airlines said it was halting all flights starting Friday and running through March 27. Delta plans to wait until Feb. 6 to suspend China operations to help travelers in China leave the country. It said the stoppage will continue through April 30.

United Airlines announced that it will suspend flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu but continue flights to Hong Kong.

The virus has infected almost 10,000 people globally in just two months, a troublesome sign that prompted the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak a global emergency. The death toll stood at 213, including 43 new fatalities, all in China.

There have been seven confirmed cases in the U.S. so far.

An adult made in Santa Clara County, California, has tested positive, according to the Count of Santa Clara Public Health Department.

This latest case is the third confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in California. There is one other case in Washington state, one in Arizona, and two in Illinois.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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