Americans returning from Europe will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the nation’s Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday.
Pence mentioned the measures as he spoke on Fox News and CNN hours after President Donald Trump late Wednesday announced restrictions on travel from much of Europe.
“The epicenter of the coronavirus has shifted from China and South Korea to Europe,” Pence told CNN, mentioning the rise of COVID-19 cases in Italy and France.
“Americans coming home will be funneled through 13 different airports. They’ll be screened and then we’re going to ask every American and legal resident returning to the United States to self-quarantine for 14 days,” he said.
Trump’s ban affects travellers from much of Europe — but not Britain — as the continent grapples with a burgeoning crisis.
The government proclamation initiating the ban targets 26 European countries that comprise a visa-free travel zone known as the Schengen Area.
US citizens, green card holders, and the spouses or parents of either category are exempted.
Chad Wolf, the US acting secretary of Homeland Security, said in a statement that Trump’s travel measures “suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States.”
The US State Department has advised Americans to reconsider travel abroad, as Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker put the number of known US cases at around 1,300, with 38 dead.