CLEVELAND (WJW) — As the deadly coronavirus quickly spreads around the globe, it is being declared a public health emergency here in the United States.
That means travel restrictions for people traveling to and from China are now affecting many people here in Northeast Ohio.
So far, there have been seven cases of the coronavirus reported here in the United States: three in California, two in Illinois and one in Washington and Arizona.
U.S. health officials said they are acting now to prevent more people from becoming infected.
“I have today declared that the coronavirus presents a public health emergency in the United States,” said U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.
The declaration comes after the World Health Organization announced that the coronavirus is an international concern.
“Any U-S citizen returning to the United States, who has been in Hubei Province in the previous 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine to ensure they are provided proper medical care and health screening,” Azar said.
Nearly 10,000 cases of the respiratory virus have been reported around the world as of Friday, with more than 250 deaths.
Nearly 200 people who flew in from Wuhan to the U.S. are being kept in quarantine at an Air Force Reserve base in California.
President Trump signed a presidential proclamation temporarily banning foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the coronavirus from entering the U.S. until further notice.
“There’s a lot of work that still gotta be done in China, mark my words, this will hit, this will hamper that,” said Jack Craciun III, president and CEO of ITM China, LTD.
Craciun has been doing business in China since 1985 and actually lived there for 22 years. He planned on returning in mid-February after the Chinese New Year, but now must do the work from Cleveland.
“With virtual meeting rooms, with high encryption, every day, but you’d rather be there of course, absolutely, I am a son of China,” he said.
One of the people in Illinois with the coronavirus actually visited Cleveland for work on January 14.
The Ohio Department of Health said the individual as not symptomatic and is not considered a risk to anyone he came in contact with.