WASHINGTON (WJW) — The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ordered a 14-day mandatory quarantine for Americans who recently visited Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force announced the federal quarantine during a press conference Friday afternoon.
The quarantine applies only to U.S. citizens who have been in the Hubei province in the last 14 days prior to their attempted entry into the United States. The 195 evacuated Americans, including a group of U.S. government workers and private citizens, will remain at a military base in Southern California until mid-February.
Any U.S. citizen who is returning to the country and has been in the rest of mainland China within the previous 14 days will undergo proactive entry health screenings at a select number of ports of entry and up to 14 days of monitored, self-quarantine to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk.
President Trump has also temporarily suspended entry into the United States of foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the coronavirus.
The government says these actions were taken to ensure that all citizens receive proper health care and medical screening.
The World Health Organization issued a public health emergency of international concern declaration on Thursday. President Trump declared on Friday, in response to the WHO's emergency, that the novel coronavirus presents a public health emergency in the United States as well.
The U.S. public health emergency begins at 5 p.m. EST on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the task force recently learned that an asymptomatic person can transmit the virus while they are in that asymptomatic state.
They say there are a number of countries outside of China that have travel-related cases of the coronavirus and they are also seeing secondary cases from asymptomatic transmission, including in the U.S.
Even in light of these new developments, the task force says there is still a low risk to the American people. However, they aim to keep that risk low, which is why they are taking the action of quarantine.
The U.S. government has not issued a quarantine like this in over 50 years.