United States President Donald J. Trump banned foreign nationals who have been in China during the last 14 days from traveling to the United States, according to a proclamation on Friday.
As the coronavirus spreads at a rapid pace in China and elsewhere, the White House has chosen to take executive action to protect the U.S. from the global epidemic.
The executive action will take effect on Sunday, February 5th.
The World Health Organization has advised against any type of travel restrictions, which is puzzling considered it labeled the coronavirus a “public health emergency” on Thursday.
Among the dangers posed by the coronavirus is the fact doctors believe it can be spread by individuals who are asymptomatic, making it difficult to identify those carrying the virus without running a full battery of medical tests.
The highly contagious nature of the virus appeared to play a key role in President Trump’s decision Friday, as the travel advisory also applies to permanent residents and U.S. citizens, who will undergo health screening and be subject to a 14-day quarantine period.
Foreign nationals will be refused entry altogether.
The executive action also restricts all incoming Chinese air traffic to one of seven designated airports, namely: John F. Kennedy International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.
There have been a handful of confirmed cases of the coronavirus occurring on U.S. soil, all related to persons who had been in China during the virus incubation period.
The U.S. State Department gave China a Level 4 travel advisory – the strongest possible such directive – on Thursday, and urged U.S. citizens to not travel there because of the greater “likelihood of life-threatening risks.”