Jan 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

U.S. declares “public health emergency” on coronavirus

Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

On Sunday, the United States will deny entry into the country to any foreign national who poses a risk of transmitting the coronavirus, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Friday.

Why it matters: The public health emergency comes with a quarantine for U.S. citizens arriving from Hubei province, and a temporary ban on foreigners without family in the U.S. who have recently visited China.

What they're saying: While the temporary ban may appear dramatic, Azar defended the decision saying American actions will "complement the work of China and the World Health Organization."

  • "The United States government will implement temporary measures to increase our abilities to detect and contain the coronavirus proactively and aggressively."

Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted: "President @realDonaldTrump is taking measured and decisive action to protect the American people against #coronavirus. The current risk to the American public is low. As the Task Force recommended, we are pausing travel activities to keep it that way."

Go deeper: What's happening with the coronavirus

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