LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The United States has declared a public health emergency Friday in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The new restrictions will begin Sunday afternoon and will mean foreign nationals believed to be at risk of transmitting the virus will be temporarily stopped from entering the United States.
Additionally, flights arriving from China will be restricted — only allowed to land at seven airports — with all passengers arriving from the Hubei Province of China required to undergo a 14-day quarantine after arrival. People arriving from other parts of China will be allowed to self-monitor their condition.
“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 quaratine,” Alex Azar, Health and Human Services secretary, said.
Travelers at Los Angeles International Airport, one of the seven airports planes will be allowed to land, said they were concerned about the rapid spread of the deadly virus.
“We are very afraid of coronavirus,” one traveler wearing a mask said. “So we want to protect us.”
Hours before the emergency declaration, major U.S. carriers announced they would be suspending or reducing flights to and from China.
“The Chinese outbound market is the biggest in the world,” Peter Greenberg, CBS News travel editor, said. “It’s collapsed. The airlines aren’t doing this out of an abundance of caution. They’re doing this because of a loss of revenue already.”
Because of the restrictions, some travelers have changed their plans, to ensure they can get back after going abroad.
“Originally we were flying China Airlines through Taiwan,” one traveler said. “And one day ago, we changed the flight. And one of the reasons is that they said, ‘You can go, but we cannot guarantee you can come back.’”
The United States Department of State on Thursday issued a travel alert warning Americans not to travel to mainland China. That warning came as the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency.
Southern California still only has two confirmed cases of the coronavirus, one in Orange County and one in Los Angeles County.