Washington [USA], Feb 01 (Sputnik/ANI): The United States will impose an entry ban on foreign nationals who have visited China over the past two weeks, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar told reporters on Friday.
"The President has signed a presidential proclamation...temporarily suspending the entry into the United States of foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the 2019 novel coronavirus," Azar said during a press briefing at the White House.
"As a result, foreign nationals other than the immediate family of US citizens and permanent residents, who have travelled in China within the last 14 days, will be denied entry into the US for this time," he added.
Azar said that the ban would become effective at 5 pm (EST) on February 2.
He also said that the measures are temporary and were designed to decrease pressure on US public health officials to allow them to act more effectively.
"I want to stress -- the risk of infection for Americans remains low. All agencies are working aggressively to monitor this continuously evolving situation," Azar said.
The new strain of coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, located in the Hubei province in December and has since spread to more than 20 countries. The virus has already killed 213 people in China and infected over 9,800 others. (Sputnik/ANI)