US bans entry of foreign nationals, declares public health emergency to stem spread of Coronavirus

President Donald Trump signed a Presidential proclamation temporarily suspending the entry of foreign nationals into the United States

The United States took two major decisions related to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, with five cases of the disease reported in the country, as yet, on Friday. Though "the risk of infection among Americans remain low", according to Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, the actions have been taken to "keep the risk low".

What are the steps taken by US government?

Alex Azar, U.S. Secretary of Health
Twitter/Alex Azar

On Friday, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, signed a declaration, designating the novel coronavirus outbreak- a public health emergency in the United States, CBS reported.

Alex Azar's tweet

The decision comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease outbreak a 'Public Health Emergency of International Concern' (PHEIC). PHEIC is the loudest alarm the WHO can ring to draw global attention towards a particular disease outbreak.

On Friday, President Donald Trump signed a presidential proclamation in which the entry of foreign nationals, who had travelled to China, within the last 14 days and pose a public health risk, will be banned by the North American country. Family members of US citizens and permanent residents have been exempted from this ban, Secretary of Health, Alex Azar, said in a press briefing.

Order will come into effect from February 2

Also, US citizens who had been to China's Hubei province in the last 14 days, will be quarantined for up to two weeks. Hubei province is the worst hit in the coronavirus outbreaks, where more than 90 percent cases and fatalities have been reported. Majority of cases reported outside mainland China are of those who had recently travelled to China's Hubei province.

"The actions we have taken and continue to take compliments the work of China and the World Health Organization", the Secretary of Health said in his statement.

The order will come into effect on February 2 at 5:00 pm [EST]. President Donald Trump said that the United States is working closely with China. The risk in America remains low, with "Only 5 people in US, all in good recovery", the President tweeted.

Donald Trump tweet

About 12,000 cases of novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection have been reported from around the world and 259 people have lost their lives- all in China. More than 100 cases have been reported in 22 countries.

Related topics : Coronavirus