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The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced new rules regarding aircraft arrivals from China to restrict the spread of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.
Coronavirus has so far killed 362 and infected 17,386 people in 25 countries.
The DHS stated that all flights arriving from China and passengers who visited China in the past 14 days will be rerouted to eight specified airports in the country.
DHS Acting Secretary Chad F Wolf said: “While the overall risk to the American public remains low, funnelling all flights with passengers who have recently been in China is the most important and prudent step we can take at this time to decrease the strain on public health officials screening incoming travellers.
“These steps will also expedite the processing of US citizens returning from China, and ensure resources are focused on the health and safety of the American people.”
The airports with the necessary authorisations are JFK Airport, O’Hare Airport, San Francisco Airport, Seattle-Tacoma Airport, Honolulu Airport, Los Angeles Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport, and Washington-Dulles Airport.
The department has also authorised three additional airports, Newark Liberty Airport, Dallas / Fort Worth Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Airport to receive the flights and passengers from 3 February.
These 11 airports will be equipped with enhanced screening procedures, as well as provisions to quarantine passengers who may be infected.
The US has reported nine confirmed cases of the coronavirus infection, however, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that immediate risk to the general public is low.
Wolf added: “To minimise disruptions, CBP and air carriers are working to identify qualifying passengers before their scheduled flights. Once back in the US, it’s imperative that individuals honour self-quarantine directives to help protect the American public.”
Many countries and flight operators have adopted measures to restrict travel from China in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
Last week, the US extended coronavirus screening to 20 airports that serve around 90% of all incoming passengers from China.