- The Washington Times - Friday, January 31, 2020

Sen. Ted Cruz said Friday that the U.S. should impose a travel ban on flights to and from China, and new screening at all U.S. airports to try to weed out those who might be contagious with the new coronavirus.

“Given the severity of the coronavirus in China and its rapid spread across the region, as well as the mounting public fear, it’s imperative that this disease is contained,” the Texas Republican said.

He joins Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, who called for a travel ban earlier this week.

Rep. Vern Buchanan, Florida Republican, also added his voice to the calls Friday.

“We should be taking all reasonable precautions,” the congressman said.

Some airlines are already canceling flights to China, but Mr. Cruz’s proposal would be a more systematic control, similar to what some lawmakers urged in 2014 during the massive Ebola outbreak in Africa.

In that case, President Barack Obama refused to impose a ban, saying it could make the situation worse by cutting off U.S. assistance to help the affected regions. But the administration did heighten screening and imposed quarantine procedures on those returning from the area.

In the current situation, the U.S. government is warning Americans not to travel to China, though no compulsory measures are in place.

The World Health Organization this week declared the outbreak a global health emergency, and the U.S. has a half-dozen confirmed cases, including one that was acquired here in the U.S. by human-to-human contact with an infected person.

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