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Our coverage on COVID‑19

Been to China? Trump won’t let you into the U.S.

Fears over the novel coronavirus outbreak have led to President Donald Trump to declare that foreign nationals who have travelled within China within the past 14 days will not be allowed into the U.S. The American Secretary of Health and Human Services has also declared a public health emergency, following the World Health Organisation (WHO)—who declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency.

However, American citizens will be allowed back into the country, although they will be required to undergo health screening upon re-entry, along with a 14 day quarantine period. In case you’re wondering, the period of 14 days—for both the quarantine period and the ban period—is based on an estimate of the period of time for symptoms to develop in those infected with the coronavirus.

However, the Secretary said that immediate family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be exceptions to the ban, although they’ll also be subjected to a quarantine period. The U.S. currently has 11 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and several American airlines have already stopped flights to and from China—meanwhile, the U.S. State Department also advised citizens not to visit China due to a “greater likelihood of life-threatening risks”.

It’s worth noting that the World Health Organisation (WHO) hasn’t recommended any travel restrictions yet. Instead, WHO says that countries should simply implement policies based on evidence, and collaborate with other countries to combat the outbreak.

That said, with almost 10,000 people already infected with the virus worldwide, and over 200 people killed in China, the evidence appears to justify the relatively harsh measures taken. Singapore has made a similar with a ban for visitors who recently visited China, while East Malaysian states have announced travel restrictions as well.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also placed 195 U.S. citizens into quarantine—after being evacuated from Wuhan, China (reportedly ground zero for the novel coronavirus).

For now, perhaps it would be wise to avoid travelling to China. Face masks have also been deemed to be unnecessary in Malaysia, although you’ll need to wear the protective gear if you were to visit China. A good piece of advise is also to sanitise your hands regularly, and to visit a doctor if you feel severe flu symptoms.

To better understand the Wuhan coronavirus, and how it affects our bodies, click here.


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