US Adds New Coronavirus China Travel Ban

Filed Under: Travel

In light of the constantly developing coronavirus situation, the Trump Administration has just added some sweeping measures that impact travelers, which will take effect as of 5PM ET on Sunday, February 2, 2020.

Presumably these measures will be temporary, though there’s no published end date yet for this.

What all is changing?

Foreign nationals who have visited China can’t enter the US

To start, foreign nationals who visited China in the last 14 days will no longer be able to enter the United States. The exception is immediate family members of US citizens and permanent residents.

According to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, this is being done to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Furthermore, the US is declaring a public health emergency.

US will quarantine US citizens returning home

The US is also adding a major quarantine restriction:

  • Any US citizen who has traveled to China will have to undergo a health screening upon entering in the US, and will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days
  • Any US citizen who has traveled to the Hubei province will have to undergo a mandatory quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the US; this is because 14 days is the longest estimate of how long it takes for symptoms of the virus to appear

Incoming China flights restricted to seven airports

We’ll see if there are any nonstop flights between mainland China and the US left in the coming days, but the US has now restricted incoming flights from China to seven US airports:

  • Atlanta (ATL)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Honolulu (HNL)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Seattle (SEA)

World Health Organization warns against travel bans

The World Health Organization, which also declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency, has recommended against creating any sort of travel restrictions.

That’s because these travel bans can make responding to an outbreak more challenging, and are not effective at stemming the spread of a virus. As a WHO spokesperson explained:

ā€œAlthough travel restrictions may intuitively seem like the right thing to do, this is not something that WHO usually recommends. This is because of the social disruption they cause and the intensive use of resources required.”

Bottom line

This is obviously still a rapidly developing situation, and it will be interesting to see how this evolves. The concept of a mandatory quarantine is the first time we’ve seen this in more than 50 years, so that’s pretty significant. I do wonder how the logistics of the quarantine will work — are they renting out hotels near airports, or…?

Given the latest information on the coronavirus situation, my thinking changed, and I ultimately canceled my flight through Beijing. For more on the rapidly-developing situation, check out these posts:

Comments
  1. Hey Ben … when they say China, does that include Hong Kong? I live in HK and need to travel to the US soon.

  2. For all people asking HKG is China or not.

    Trump and US are not dumb enough to create or recognize something ambiguous.

    The press and blogs omitted the word ‘mainland’

    So there you go for HKG.

  3. Is only mainland China as per US Deparment of Health and Human Services

    ā€œ Any U.S. citizen returning to the U.S. who has been in the rest of mainland China within the previous 14 days will undergo proactive entry health screening at a select number of ports of entry and up to 14 days of monitored self-quarantine to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk.ā€

    Source – https://www.hhs.gov/about/leadership/secretary/speeches/2020-speeches/secretary-azar-delivers-remarks-on-declaration-of-public-health-emergency-2019-novel-coronavirus.html

  4. I think there a difference between visited and transited As far as I understand HKG and Taiwan are not included

  5. As I understand it, it would mean no foreign airline crew can enter into the US if they have been to China in the previous 2 weeks.
    Also, any direct flights from China would no longer be possible. Is that what you guys understand too?

  6. @Eskimo Rest assured, while the rest of the US Government is able to think through things like this, Trump *is* dumb enough to not think through the distinction between mainland China and Hong Kong, and if corrected is also destructive enough to mandate his wrongheadedness become policy anyhow. He already claimed credit for saving Hong Kong from being leveled by mainland China, so he might consider it to be his property now for all I know.

  7. @andy. LAX is the largest hub in North America for China flights Excluding Taiwan and HKG – Xiamen , Sichuan , hainan , air china , China eastern , China southern, ( AA and DL Suspended)

    As far as I see they are all operating

    BOS and IAD are not on the list above however CX maintains schedules

    am not sure how they roster crews given the 2 week restriction

    CX BR and CI are operating to TPE and HKG

  8. Just racism and bigotry by Trump. Someone should sue and a federal judge will agree. We should welcome the sick and help treat them.

  9. Haha what a moronic and bullying country. 2009 US H1N1 outbreak killed more than 15000 world wide. Did anyone ban US citizens?!

  10. @Derek Racism and Bigotry? Welcome the sick? What are you talking about?

    That’s like saying that the United States should welcome foreign murderers, so we can rehabilitate them.
    They’re not Americans, and are therefor not our problem.

    Also, where’s the Racism and Bigotry? If Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton enacted this policy, you’d be praising them for quick thinking and making vital decisions to protect the nation.

  11. From the DOS website…

    Section 1. Suspension and Limitation on Entry. The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Peopleā€™s Republic of China, excluding the Special Autonomous Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.

    HTH

  12. Not enough. Should not distinguish between Americans and non-citizens, virus is virus.

    I feel this really does not block many people from entering, and is just a “look everyone I did something” action by Trump. This ban is blocking very few people in reality due to:

    1) China has suspended all overseas tour sales

    2) US embassy has suspended giving out new visas to Chinese people

    3) Most Chinese people are voluntarily confined to their homes. They are scared to go grocery shopping, let alone go abroad.

    Allowing family members of American citizens into US is a dangerous loophole. The nouveau riche of China has been acquiring American citizenship as fast as airlines devaluing miles. When China finally declares a full blown lockdown, they are all coming.

    Also, “self-quarantine”? Funnyā€¦

    This ban doesn’t block Americans, doesn’t ban Chinese with access, it really only bans other nationals that have been in China recently.

    As with Hong Kong, politics aside, it should be included for health/safety reasons.

  13. @ sir fly a lot. So you believe legal residents should be refused entry. If you legally have the right of abode and a home , family and job what do you propose to someone who went on vacation for 2 weeks and is told , sorry you canā€™t come back ? Idiot

  14. Air Canada also cancelled flights for the next “month”, but any frequent AC flyer knows this means 6 months. I remember upon the grounding of 737 MAX they took it out of schedule for, like, 2 months, and still only update the schedule every few months accordingly.

  15. Well, looks like Australia is instituting similar policies. This all seems like overreaction to me. I wonder how this works for airline crews.

  16. A lot of people knocking the US here. Australia, Japan, Singapore Have implemented similar restrictions. And is it fair to criticise the US when the evidence from China itself, restricting the movement of millions of its citizens, suggests this is a serious issue?

  17. Look at this @derek guys comment. I was hoping for this kind of dumb comment. Just connect everything to racism.

  18. Anyone criticizing the administration should note that the US is not the first country that has done this (it was North Korea, followed by Singapore). Furthermore, non-citizens and non-permanent residents have no legal RIGHT to enter the country of which they are not citizens or permanent residents. This is simply a fact. In fact, I am more than 99% certain that whoever claimed the administration acted on a whim definitely did not watch Alex Azar’s press conference, during which he made it clear that the administration partially acted on the suggestion of the PRC government itself (this was also mentioned by Australian PM).

    Green Card holders are still allowed to return to the US, so no problems there. Now it’s just a matter of time for Mainland Chinese carriers to cut their frequencies in at least half.

    I now grief for Canada as many those on their way to the US will choose to come north if they have a visa or are visa-exempt. Quite a few of WeChat groups I’m in are horrified.

  19. > What an over reaction ā€¦..

    Au contraire, my friend. You ain’t seen nothing yet. This is just starting. Lots more to come (perhaps including a worldwide recession, as businesses and commerce in China start shutting down).

  20. There is no NEW virus. This is a ploy by big pharma to panic the populace in order to sell more useless vaccines and medications. Go back a few years ago when they tried to panic everyone into getting a useless vaccine for the contrived swine flu. It never materialized. The Vedas say we are living in Kali Yuga. The age of the cheaters and the cheated, hypocrisy and quarrel.

  21. Itā€˜s really awful to witness such populist reactions. WHO, the experts on the topic, were pretty clear what needs to be done and what not. Unfortunately some self declared experts (better known as politicians) took over thereafter … šŸ™

    I mean, seriously, itā€™s a new subvariant of known virus which most of us have been infected with before. Yes, if you are frail, it may kill you – as the previous variants could have. I hope I will not contract it, corona infections are not an enjoyable experience, but Iā€™m not afraid of it.

  22. @Andy
    You must be joking……… WHO is not expert on this topic at all. WHO has been Chinese puppet for awhile. Have you watched the press briefing. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is corrupt as fuck. He was also accused for covering up cholera outbreaks in his own country. “Google WHO directory general cover up”

    US governments and other governments around the world are smarter than you think. They know WHO has no credibility. All WHO trying to do is minimize the economic and political impacts to China.

    Normal people like you have no idea what WHO actually do. WHO is a political organization which makes its decision primarily based on political reason instead of public heath concern.

  23. Obviously, this is ethnically motivated and it’s a borderline hate crime. I hope it’s true that the federal judge in Hawai’i is blocking it. We need to allow direct flights from China.

  24. Countries all over the world are taking these steps. I believe Vietnam and Italy are not accepting flights from china and they even include hong kong and taiwan. I would recommend taking what the WHO says with a grain of salt. China is their second largest financial supporter and we have seen the WHO deny access to Taiwan to conferences etc because China said so. Also, the WHO screwed up their assessment and then had to come out and admit its much more serious than they initially said. Until Chinese government is sharing ALL of the data (which to this point they haven’t) I think the steps the US are taking are completely appropriate. We don’t know what we are dealing with here and the Chinese government has shown in the past that they can’t be trusted to be honest. Better safe than sorry.

  25. @Matt Fortini Hate crime? What? Sounds like you have no clue about what’s going on nor the history of how the Chinese government handled the SARs crisis.

  26. @Andy Umm the WHO admitted they bungled their initial assessments and they have deferred to the chinese government in the past, so forgive governments for not just taking their word for it especially when China continues to withhold some of the medical data that would allow experts in other countries to make their own assessments.

  27. I’m actually wondering how CBP can determine whether a person visited China during the past 14 days or not. Sure direct flights from China are self-evident, but what about transiting passengers under different PNRs? Does CBP have access to everyone’s every itinerary, or does it depend on individuals to represent themselves? In the latter case I would imagine a lot of trouble upon points of entry…

  28. For the record, WHO now focuses on alcohol and drug abuse, not contagious disease control. If you need accurate advice without political overtones, refer to the Center for Disease Control (C.D.C.) website instead.

    The track record of WHO is not exactly a glittering success, due to their several bungled interventions (mainly in Africa and parts of Asia/Pacific) and so called ‘advice’ since at least the early 90s. I was present when a WHO team was quietly and politely asked to leave a certain south pacific nation due to their incompetence and ignorance of local conditions. Nothing has changed in 13 years.

  29. @Marc, it sounds like Derek’s comment triggered you. You poor little snowflake. Sorry princess, but I’m with Derek, this reeks of racism to me too.

  30. So good to have a President who isn’t scared to take drastic measures to protect its country and others. Thank you President Trump!

  31. My personal policy would be to quarentine anyone entering or who has already entered the country who has been in mainline China in the past 14 days. They must stay in quarentine until they have been away from China for 14 days then they can leave and explore the country, or come back home etc. Quarentine could be a chintzy Trump hotel for all I care.

    This let’s people visit or come home etc and let’s students study but still swap countries etc. But no I don’t think Trumps reaction is a racist policy, I think it probably is not an over reaction, as I think there is massive under reporting in China. I know of people who were talking about this virus in mid December on we chat. Here we are in February and the world has only known about this for 2 weeks. If your reaction is to arrest people who report about coronavirus, or post about it on social media. You are wasting massive resources on when you should be spending it on eradicating the virus. Anyway it looks like a lot of China is on lockdown. I have heard of shanghai factories being told to take 2 weeks off production, so it really looks like China are throwing everything at eradication.

  32. There really needs to be a block on this forum so that we don’t have to see Keith’s anti vaxxer crap every time we look at the comments.

  33. When they mentioned China… are they also including Taiwan since China believes Taiwan is part of China? I am scheduled to visit Taiwan next month.

  34. Worth noting that effective February 1, 2020 Italy and Vietnam are not allowing flights to arrive and depart from Hong Kong as well, due to proximity to Mainland China, so presumably those living in Hong Kong wanting to leave or travelers connecting via Hong Kong might see their short term travel plans change.

  35. @ Marc — You are so right. We have enough of our own problems, named Trump, that we can’t handle any more.

  36. As usual people like Derek and Will have to make this political. Hey Derek why donā€™t you volunteer to go over to Wuhan and help out?

  37. Obviously some of the commenters have their own sickness – Trump derangement syndrome. Bravo to the President for protecting us from the Wuhan virus.

  38. @MKLDH: yes CBP does have access to incoming and transiting passengers. Btw when they arrive cbp can check their recent travel history by looking at their passport stamps.

  39. Itā€™s so funny to see some of the comments here. People nowadays just have the bias embedded in their mind and wonā€™t even bother to read the actual text in this new executive order.

  40. I contracted the H7N9 strain of the avian influenza virus in Hong Kong in 2015 and almost died in a hospital. H7N9 started in Huizhou, China but the Chinese liars said nothing until other countries were affected and broke the news.

    in 2019, China knowingly lied about the Wuhan virus not being transmitted from human to human contact for over a month, so Wuhan virus made it to Hong Kong.

    Thankfully, United changed my mid-March Air China flight from HKG to BKK, so I now fly TG from SIN to BKK.

    Job #1 is to stay alive.

    Please, you Trump-haters, make your way to Wuhan to prove that Trump is an ignorant racist and you are enlightened and morally superior.

  41. If Newark Liberty (EWR) is not one of the seven designated airports why does United Airlines still have scheduled flights arriving Newark on Sunday (after 5pm) and Monday direct from Shanghai and Beijing? Is United not aware of the new rule taking effect on 2/2 at 5pm EST?

  42. @Auspointer: CNN LOL, I’m surprised it’s not a Trump conspiracy, more TDS from CNN, more fake news from CNN, does anyone believe anything they read on CNN anymore?

  43. @Lisa T
    Except for when it is from PR China (Communist China), if someone says “China” it is Mainland China only. If someone outside of PR China wants to include Taiwan then they simply say “China and Taiwan”.
    You should be fine unless you want to travel to Vietnam in the near future. Vietnam blocks every foreigner who has been to either China HK Macau and Taiwan.

  44. @Jay
    Thank you for the clarification. I wasn’t sure how people would read this. My employer (professional services firm) issued a notice to all employees to avoid traveling to China, Macau and Hong Kong indefinitely yesterday.

    I don’t have any plans to travel to Vietnam anytime soon so I think I am okay.

    Thanks again!

  45. @Lisa T

    Taiwan is only a part of China according to the People’s Republic of China, everywhere else in the world views it as a separate entity of some sort. Macau and Hong Kong are linked to China by land and many people cross the borders everyday, therefore it should be on the list of dangerous places right now. Taiwan is not geographically linked to China by land, but there are many Taiwanese expats that went back to Taiwan during the Chinese new year and it now has ten confirmed cases of this virus. Therefore, even though it is not currently on any banned lists, I would still be careful and would not be surprised if it gets added on later. FYI, I planned to travel to Taiwan later this month on MF thru Xiamen (super killer fare). I will definitely cancel that flight as it transits in China, and am pretty much certain the whole trip will be cancelled until all the unknowns are cleared up.

    @Zhang

    I applaud your logical insight as a Chinese person. Hao yang de, gei li! We sure hope Canada soon join the ranks, and stop being neutral for once to protect its citizens. I lived in Toronto during SARS in 2002, Dundas and Spadina was a ghost town… There also has been rich Chinese kids showing off on social media how their family paid someone to escape Wuhan into Canada while the city is on lockdown…

    @MKLDH

    Most immigration systems can see where you have been by just a swipe of your passport. They see everything.

  46. @Sir Fly a Lot
    Thanks for the insight. I will continue to monitor the news and go from there. I want to say that my trip is still 40+ days out but the situation is ever changing so we’re see.

    Appreciate the insight!

  47. @Sir Fly a Lot – so there is some type of international mechanism where border control of different countries share passengersā€™ travel history? Sounds unpractically globalism to me, because otherwise I would imagine each country can only access travel history directly related to itself. Do correct me if Iā€˜m wrong though…

  48. Hi Lucky,

    I am flying through Taiwan to Vietnam and returning through Taiwan to U.S.
    Does this travel ban impact Taiwan? Does Taiwan considers as China since U.S. does not recognize Taiwan as an independent nation. Thank you.

  49. @MKLDH. I’m not sure about other countries, but U.S. Border Patrol has all the data of where you have been in real time. They even know which flights you were on so that even if you transit somewhere they have that information as well.

  50. @MKLDH. But that brings up a good point. I think most of the data of your movements comes from airlines directly. It’s why, for example, the kiosks for Global Entry already knows which flight you came in on.

    I don’t think the information comes from other countries border patrols though. So, as an example, if you transit by land to Hong Kong from mainland China it’s doubtful that it’s in their systems. But they could inspect any stamps in your passports.

    I imagine this is what a lot of people are contemplating now to avoid quarantine or to be able to even enter the U.S. Travel by land to Hong Kong and fly from there.

  51. @Penny

    Earlier today, Vietnam banned all flights from China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. However they rescinded Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan three hours ago. I would advise everyone to suspend all non-essential travel to Asia right now. Besides whether you believe there is danger or not health-wise, there are too many unknowns regarding flights and border close downs.

    People, don’t cancel or change your flight plans until the last minute. You want to wait for the airline to announce waivers, rather than pay out of your own pocket too early.

  52. What about layovers in China? I was in the Beijing airport for a couple hours last week on my way to South Korea? Will I be subject to the quarantine when returning to the US?

  53. The World Health Organization is criticizing travel bans imposed by some nations due to ‘social disruption’ caused and ‘intensive use of resources required’. Is this the same World Health Organization that got smacked down by Harvard University’s Global Health Initiative AND the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in a stinging joint 2015 report on the WHO’s pathetic response to the Ebola outbreak which then resulted in hundreds of needless deaths?

    The WHO is like Harvey Weinstein lecturing us on sexual morality and restraint! If our elected officials in Australia, America, Singapore, Japan and elsewhere impose travel bans, then those time-serving, predominantly European WHO bureaucrats in Geneva, Switzerland can fume in impotent fury.

  54. Everyone know the current occupant of the White House is a terrible racist (in addition to the dozens of other reasons why he will go down in the ashes of history as the worst President ever, bar none)

    That being said – this isn’t a racist move…had to be done

  55. Commentsection is pure Gold…
    I think ist a good thing to restrict travel from China but it shouldnā€™t just affect Chinese. US Citizens who have bin to China in the last two weeks should also be moved into Quarantine. As should any citizen departing from China.

  56. A terrible over reaction. The nativist venom spewed on this site is deplorable. What if every country did this? All countries should ban all Americans who have been in China in the last 14 days. I am horrified. Most people in the West who have always looked for leadership to the USA are astounded.

  57. @Peter Brown
    I was booked on a China Eastern flight for next week to Southeast Asia, routing through Shanghai. But because of the American restrictions/quarantine I had a bit of worry that Canada would impose similar rules once I come back.

    With only a week to go I managed to find a similarly priced AC/OZ ticket with a layover in ICN instead, but if there was new fear of quarantines or immigration-related restrictions I would try China Eastern in an instant.

    We just have to realize some countries just need to protect themselves. Most of them *are* subjecting people (including Americans) to either rejection or quarantine if they travel through China.

    Cooler heads will prevail. As our government officials say in Canada “we would only impose quarantine if our medical officers (non-elected and apolitical) require it”.

  58. Say you been China other than Hubei province and entered US among one of 7th airport , as citizen how would you go about self quarantine when your final destination is other than 7th destination ?

  59. @Jung

    Self-Quarantine is a joke. It’s as effective as kids asking for water cups at Del Taco and fill them with soda instead.

  60. @Sir Fly a Lot

    Where is your Del Taco?

    I’ve mostly seen adult doing that in every major burger chain.

    But yes, self quarantine is a joke. This restrictions are also a joke. I’ve flown on many Chinese carriers into US, most of the passengers are citizens or residents so not much prevention from this policy anyway.

    They should at least quarantine everyone for few days regardless. It’s not like having a green card give you virus immunization. LOL, but if it does I just want to see the looks on those antivax’s face when their passport is also a vaccine.

  61. I also have flights via HKG to Australia in a couple of weeks and I’m doing a lot of soul searching about what to do… I would lose quite a bit of money in case of cancelling and re-routing (it’s in business class), but I am a bit worried that we would not enjoy the flight anyway as there will be a climate of concern around us. Has anyone flown via HKG recently?

  62. Some of the comments sound like PRC propaganda… with full western names… just sayin

    Not sure a country that just quarantined 40 million people should lecture about safety measures.

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