- The Washington Times - Monday, March 2, 2020

The Trump administration said Monday new coronavirus-screening rules on passengers from Italy and South Korea will be up and running by early Tuesday.

Vice President Mike Pence, speaking late Monday, said the rules ordered by President Trump are in effect in South Korea and Italy would be implementing them within 12 hours.

All passengers taking direct flights from anywhere in either of those countries, where infections are soaring, will be subject to “100% screening” for health issues suggestive of the illness known as COVID-19. Namely, their temperatures will be taken multiple times during the boarding process.

Mr. Trump previously imposed travel restrictions on foreign nationals who’d been to China or Iran, but he’s looking at additional measures on a rolling basis.

Mr. Pence said there are no restrictions or advisories on travel within the U.S., which is seeing a mounting case load.

Six people have died from the coronavirus outside of Seattle, meaning the outbreak that began in China and sickened 80,000 worldwide has entered a somber phase in America.

The deaths include five people in King County and one from Snohomish County, according to Washington State officials who find themselves at the epicenter of an outbreak that’s affecting both coasts. There have been no deaths elsewhere in the U.S.

“On behalf of the president and all of the Americans people we extending our deepest condolences and sympathies to those who were lost,” Mr. Pence said. “Despite today’s sad news, let’s be clear, the risk to the American people form the coronavirus remains low.”

Officials acknowledged that more cases are likely to be found as they expand testing. So far, there are 26 cases related to community spread, a brisk increase from the first case reported Wednesday.

Food and Drug Commissioner Stephen Hahn said it rolled out rules that allow academic centers and private companies to develop tests for COVID-19.

Officials said they expect to uncover new cases as they increase testing. They said the entire country isn’t at a high level of risk, despite the unknowns.

“I would imagine it is still going to be low regardless of that,” said Anthony Fauci, director for infectious disease at the National Institutes of Health.

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