Political News

As coronavirus spreads, TSA issues new directive for anyone entering the US from China

Posted February 2, 2020 1:31 a.m. EST

— The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a new directive effective Sunday requiring airlines to ask passengers on flights from outside the United States if they've been to mainland China in the past 14 days.

The directive comes as the Wuhan coronavirus, which was first detected in China in December, continues to spread around the world. The virus has killed 304 people in mainland China, one man in the Philippines and infected more than 14,000 in over 20 countries and territories.

In the United States, an eighth case of coronavirus has been confirmed -- a Boston college student aged in his 20s, health officials said Saturday.

Chinese nationals coming from China and connecting through another foreign airport will be denied travel, according to a person briefed on the new restrictions. Those with pre-clearance are exempted.

The TSA notified airlines about the restrictions Saturday, a day after the White House announced plans to set up new travel rules. The directive to both US and foreign airlines goes into effect at 5 p.m. ET Sunday.

"Under these directives, non-US citizens who have been in China within 14 days of their planned travel will not be permitted to fly to the United States," TSA administrator David Pekoske said in a statement.

"US citizens who have been in China within 14 days of their planned travel will be permitted to enter the country through one of seven airports -- Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle-Tacoma, Chicago O'Hare, Atlanta, and John F. Kennedy International airports -- where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the capability to conduct medical screening. This applies to travel from any airport with direct flights to the US, not just airports in China."

In addition to the directive, Pekoske said, all frontline employees will be permitted to wear surgical masks if they choose to do so.

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