New travel restrictions now in effect to help stop spread of coronavirus

On Sunday, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport became one of eight U.S. airports now handling all arriving flights from China as part of the effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The new travel restrictions took effect as three additional cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed Sunday in California, bringing the U.S. total to eleven.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said the main airports in Dallas, Detroit and Newark would be added to the list Monday of airports now handling all flights from China. The eleven airports have enhanced health screening procedures, the capacity to quarantine passengers and will also handle all arriving passengers who have traveled to China in the last fourteen days.

>>China travel restrictions affect Seattle-area businesses

DHS said U.S. citizens returning from China’s Hubei province now face mandatory quarantines that may last up to two weeks. Non-U.S. citizens, other than immediate family of U.S. citizens, flight crews and permanent U.S. residents, are being temporarily denied entry into the United States if they’ve traveled in China in the fourteen days prior to their arrival, DHS said.

Some travelers are now scrambling to change international flights as countries put in place new travel restrictions to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

Lisa Decastro, on her way to a wedding in the Philippines from Seattle Sunday, said she was forced to change her Hong Kong connection the same night of her flight after the Philippines banned entry of all non-citizens from China.

"When we get to Hong Kong, they're going to turn us back,” said Decastro, whose connection was later rerouted through Taipei. "I didn't get any notification.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provided this update on travel restrictions:

Effective Sunday, February 2 at 5 PM EST, Americans flying to the United States from China will be re-routed to the following airports at no cost to the traveler:

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia

Effective at 6:30 AM EST on Monday, February 3, this list of airports is expanded to include:

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey

Effective at 7:30 AM EST on Monday, February 3, this list of airports is expanded to include:

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas

Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan

  • Although the CDC expects more cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., the risk of infection for Americans remains low, and all agencies are working aggressively to monitor this continuously evolving situation and to keep the public educated and informed:
  • American air travelers should be aware that if they have been to China in the last 14 days, they will be routed through one of eleven airports to undergo enhanced health screenings.
  • Any individual traveling from China who has either been in Hubei Province or other areas of the mainland and is showing symptoms associated with the virus will be screened and subject to mandatory quarantine by medical professionals at a nearby facility.
  • If a traveler who spent time in China, but outside the Hubei province, is re-routed through one of the eleven airports and shows no symptoms following a health screening, they will be re-booked to their destination and asked to “self-quarantine” at their homes.
  • CBP and air carriers are working together to identify and rebook any passengers that meet these criteria, however other travelers without a nexus to China may also be routed through one of these eleven airports if it is discovered mid-flight that someone else on their flight has been in China in the last 14 days.
  • Travelers showing symptoms should be prepared for the possibility of prolonged delay to avoid spreading the infection.