China Reacts Angrily To U.S. Travel Ban Amid Deadly Coronavirus Spread, ‘Certainly Not A Gesture Of Good Will’

Travelers wearing face mask walk through the departure hall at West Kowloon Station on January 23, 2020 in Hong Kong, China.
Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

China has responded to the United States‘ travel ban, which was announced on Friday and set to go into effect on Sunday, February 2, reported The Guardian. The ban will prevent foreign nationals who have visited China in the past two weeks from entering the U.S.

Also on Friday, the U.S. administration officially declared the coronavirus a public health emergency. According to The Guardian, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director, Robert R Redfield, explained that although the spread of the virus and subsequent deaths are a serious health issue, Americans are at low risk for catching the virus.

“This is a serious health situation in China, but I want to emphasize the risk to the American public currently is low. It is our goal to keep it that way.”

After the travel ban was announced, the Chinese government criticized the U.S.’s decision, claiming that it went against the World Health Organization’s (WHO) appeal to avoid travel bans. They also believed that the ban implicated that Beijing wasn’t doing enough to control the spread of the virus.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying commented on the U.S. travel ban.

“Just as the WHO recommended against travel restrictions, the US rushed in the opposite direction. [It is] certainly not a gesture of goodwill.”

A podium with the logo for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the Tom Harkin Global Communications Center.
  Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

Under the new measures, all foreign nationals will be banned from entering the United States if they have visited China within the past two weeks, except for United States citizens, the immediate family of citizens, and permanent residents.

Any American returning from Hubei province, where the virus is thought to have originated, will be subject to 14 days of mandatory quarantine in an institutional setting. Those who have simply traveled in mainland China will be allowed to complete the 14 days of quarantine at home.

The United States is not the only country to enact a travel ban following the rapidly growing number of coronavirus cases throughout the world. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison commented that the government had raised the travel advisory warning to level 4 and is recommending that no Australian set foot in mainland China.

Australia has also banned any foreign national traveling from China from entering Australian borders. Exceptions include Australian citizens and residents and their dependents.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, several U.S. airlines, Delta, United, and American, have temporarily suspended travel to China until the virus can be contained and controlled.

The death toll from the virus has risen to 259, with all deaths occurring in China, and there are currently around 12,000 confirmed cases.