US government declares the novel coronavirus a public health emergency


Passengers wear protective masks to protect against the spread of the Coronavirus as they arrive at the Los Angeles International Airport, California, on January 22, 2020. – A new virus that has killed nine people, infected hundreds and has already reached the US could mutate and spread, China warned on January 22, as authorities urged people to steer clear of Wuhan, the city at the heart of the outbreak. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

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(CNN) — The novel coronavirus has been declared a public health emergency in the United States, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a White House briefing on Friday.

After the declaration goes into effect at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, US citizens returning to the United States who have been in Hubei, China, province in the 14 days prior will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine, Azar said.

US citizens who have been in the rest of mainland China in the 14 days prior will face a health screening at a select number of ports of entry, he said. Those citizens also face up to two weeks of monitored self-quarantine to ensure they pose no health risk.

President Donald Trump has signed a proclamation suspending the entry of foreign nationals who have traveled in China in the last two weeks, Azar said, and could pose a risk of spreading the coronavirus.

For the latest information regarding the coronavirus, please visit WREG’s live update blog.

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