Jan 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

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

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

Go deeper

How Congress is responding to the coronavirus outbreak

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Members of Congress are reacting to the coronavirus outbreak by calling on the Trump administration to do more to combat its spread — with some calling for even harsher restrictions on travel to and from China, where the virus originated.

Where it stands: 11 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the disease, per the Centers for Disease Control, and it has killed at least 360 people and infected nearly 18,000 in mainland China, per official data.

World coronavirus updates: Recoveries exceed 300,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

China has lifted its lockdown of Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus outbreak was first reported, as other governments around the world tighten restrictions to stop the spread. Global recoveries surpassed 300,000 on Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed over 82,000 people and infected 1.4 million others globally as of Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 141,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 17,000) as half the planet's population is now on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

CDC confirms 8th coronavirus case in the U.S.

A woman in Wuhan, Hubei province, China on Feb. 1. Photo: Stringer/Getty Images

A man in his 20s who returned to the U.S. from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, has contracted the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alerted health officials in Boston on Saturday. His is the eighth known case in the U.S.

Details: Rita Nieves, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said officials "are not asking Boston residents to do anything differently" and that "risk to the general public remains low." The man was isolated soon after returning to Massachusetts, and his "few close contacts" are being monitored for symptoms.

Go deeperArrowFeb 1, 2020 - Health