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United States Announces Temporary Travel Ban Over Coronavirus Fears

The White House has declared a public health emergency over coronavirus, announcing foreigners who've been to China in the past two weeks will be denied entry into the country.

Exceptions are being made for foreign nationals who are immediate family members of U.S. citizens.

At a White House press briefing on coronavirus Friday local time, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar declared a public health emergency in the country.

American citizens returning from Hubei province in the past fortnight will be subject to up to a 14-day quarantine.

Foreign nationals, other than immediate family members of Americans, who have traveled to China in the previous 14 days will be denied entry into the country. The temporary measures take effect February 2 at 5 p.m local time.

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The coronavirus has killed 249 in China, and spread to more than 9800 people globally, with the World Health Organisation declaring it a health emergency.

Americans who've traveled to other parts of China in the past two weeks must undergo a health screening upon their return home and will be asked to quarantine themselves for a 14-day period.

Despite the growing list of precautions. America's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended citizens do not need to wear face masks.

U.S. based aircraft carriers Delta Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines have suspended all flights to China, as coronavirus cases in the country top 9,600.

Countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea are working to evacuate citizens from Wuhan or have already started.

Over 2,000 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in China in the past 24 hours. Nearly 9,800 people have been sickened worldwide, surpassing the the 8,098 cases reported during the 2003 SARS outbreak.

The World Health Organisation declared it a global health emergency on Friday.

Contact the author samelia@networkten.com.au