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US Mulling Ban on Travellers From Europe Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

© REUTERS / Shannon StapletonAirplanes are seen parked through a rain soaked window at their gates during a winter nor'easter at LaGuardia Airport in New York
Airplanes are seen parked through a rain soaked window at their gates during a winter nor'easter at LaGuardia Airport in New York - Sputnik International
As of Wednesday, the United States reported 1,050 cases of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-2019), with 31 deaths. The COVID-19 outbreak is currently ramping up in Europe, with Italy, Spain, France and Germany the most affected countries. Globally, the number of confirmed cases exceeds 124,000 and an estimated 4,500 people have died from the disease.

The acting deputy secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, Ken Cuccinelli, said Wednesday that Washington is weighing a ban on all travelers from Europe to slow the spread of the deadly outbreak.

"The question is a live question about how to treat Europe as a whole. You have seen Department of State and CDC warnings go up. That is not to the level of using legal authorities to block travel yet. But it is under consideration", Cuccinelli told a congressional hearing.

Earlier in the day, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in a press release that the US federal government had allocated $560 million to state and local governments on the front lines of efforts to control and eventually halt the coronavirus pandemic.

Those grants are a part of $8.3 billion emergency package approved by Congress and signed into law by US President Donald Trump earlier this month.

The Houses of Parliament can be seen as people wearing protective face masks walk across Westminster Bridge - Sputnik International
Coronavirus: Stop Panic, Clean Hands, Open Hearts
CDC Director Robert Redfeld earlier dubbed Europe a "new China" for the coronavirus.

"Our real threat right now is Europe. That’s where the cases are coming in [...] So, in a way, if you want to just be blunt, Europe is the new China", Redfeld suggested.

According to the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, Anthony Fauci, the novel coronavirus is likely to be ten times as deadly as the seasonal flu.

Italy is the nation with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Europe, with nearly 10,150 confirmed infections and over 630 deaths. Spain has the second highest number of cases in Europe, with nearly 2,200 infections and almost 50 deaths.

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