WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will put into place temporary travel restrictions that will bar entry into the United States by any foreign national who has traveled to China in the past 14 days, administration officials announced on Friday.
The temporary restrictions, a reaction to the novel coronavirus that was deemed a public health emergency by the World Health Organization, will be put into place at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2.
The action will restrict all foreign nationals who have been to China — other than immediate family members of American citizens and permanent residents — from entering the United States.
In addition, officials said, any American citizen returning to the United States from the Hubei Province in China will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine, and any American citizen returning to the country who has visited the rest of mainland China within the past 14 days will undergo proactive entry health screening at selective ports of entry, as well as 14 days of self-quarantine.
The United States will also funnel all flights from China to just a few airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport, Chicago’s O’Hare and San Francisco International Airport.
The travel restrictions were announced Friday by Alex Azar, the health secretary, who declared that the coronavirus posed “a public health emergency in the United States.”
Mr. Azar and other members of an administration task force assembled to address the virus sought to play down public fears about an outbreak, emphasizing that the risk at this time of the coronavirus to the American public was “low.”
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the actions were being taken because there were “a lot of unknowns” surrounding the virus and its transmission path. Unlike influenza, which is fairly predictable in terms of infection and mortality, Dr. Fauci said there was not the same certainty about the rate and path of the coronavirus transmission.
“The number of cases have steeply inclined with every day,” Dr. Fauci said.
The administration’s announcement came as major air carriers said they were suspending flights between the United States and mainland China.
The announcement by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines that direct air service would be halted for months sent shocks through the stock market and rattled industries that depend on the flow of goods and people between the world’s largest economies.
The airlines’ move underscored the seriousness of the health crisis, fanning new fears about a worldwide economic downturn and contributing to growing unease about how widely, deeply and quickly the virus might spread.