China reports 259 people have died of new virus; 11,800 sick

The Trump Administration on Friday declared an outbreak of novel coronavirus a public health emergency in the US and announced that it will temporarily deny entry to any foreign national who "poses a risk" of transmitting the virus.

Under the measures announced on Friday, Americans returning from Hubei province will be subject to 14 days' mandatory quarantine in an institutional setting upon their return, in order for health authorities to monitor them for the virus. Americans traveling back to the USA from other areas of mainland China must undergo screening and monitored self-quarantine to ensure they are not at risk of spreading the virus.

The latest USA patient was identified only as a man in Santa Clara County, south of San Francisco, who became ill after traveling to China and has "self-isolated" at home, Sara Cody, director of public health for the county, told reporters.

She said the CDC was seeking to determine whether the man was infectious while flying home.

The restrictions will apply to any foreign nationals not immediately related to Americans or U.S. permanent residents, and come into effect on Sunday at 5pm ET.

Beginning Sunday, the United States will direct flights from China to seven major airports where passengers can be screened.

Three US airlines, American, Delta and United said they would soon suspend all flights to China.

American Airlines said on Friday cancellations to Beijing and Shanghai will last till March 27, though it will continue to fly to Hong Kong. Almost 10,000 people have been infected by the virus worldwide and 213 have died, mostly in mainland China.

The WHO has declared the outbreak a global emergency.

During the televised briefing, Trump administration officials noted that the coronavirus is a public health emergency in the USA, but stressed that the virus was at a low risk for Americans.

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U.S. citizens traveling from Hubei will be quarantined at Department of Homeland (DHS) designated sites whereas those traveling from other parts of China will be screened at ports of entry and asked to quarantine themselves at home for the 14-day duration.

According to Azar, foreign nationals, other than immediate family of United States citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled to China within the past 14 days could be denied entry into the US.

It was not immediately clear how long the ban would be in effect.

The flu-like virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and was first identified earlier this month, has resulted in 213 deaths in China.

More than 9,800 people have been infected in China and more than 130 cases reported in at least 25 other countries and regions, with Russia, Britain, Sweden and Italy all reporting their first cases on Thursday or Friday.

Many other countries, including Australia, South Korea, Singapore and New Zealand, have said they plan to quarantine evacuees for two weeks to avoid spread of the virus.

The first quarantines of USA citizens potentially exposed to coronavirus in China began hours before the White House announcement. "Commercial carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China", the Department of State said on its website.

The team led by Premier Li Keqiang said they would coordinate with local governments to stagger the times when people are asked to go back to work.

One of the individuals tried to leave the base and was placed under quarantine by the state of California, said CDC official Marty Citron, before the federal action.

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