430,000 people have traveled from China to the United States since the appearance of the coronavirus

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“I was surprised how lax the whole process was,” said Andrew Wu, 31, who landed at Los Angeles International Airport on a flight from Beijing on March 10. “The guy I spoke to read a list of questions, and he didn’t seem interested in checking anything. ”

Sabrina Fitch, 23, took off from China for Kennedy International Airport in New York on March 23. She and 40 other passengers had their temperatures taken twice en route and had to fill out travel and health forms, she said. .

“In addition to looking at our passports, they did not interrogate us as we normally are,” said Ms. Fitch, who taught English in China. “So it was a little weird, because everyone expected the contrary, where you have a lot of questions. But once we filled out the little health form, nobody really cared. “

In January, prior to the extensive screening, there were more than 1,300 direct passenger flights from China to the United States, according to VariFlight and two American companies, MyRadar and FlightAware. About 381,000 travelers traveled directly from China to the United States this month, about a quarter of which were American, according to data from the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

In addition, countless others arrived from China on routes that first stopped in another country. Although the actual number of passengers for indirect flights is not available, Sofia Boza-Holman, spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, said that they represented about a quarter of travelers from China. The restrictions, she added, have reduced all passengers in the country by about 99 percent.

Trump released his first travel restrictions related to the virus on January 31, a day after the World Health Organization declared the epidemic a global health emergency. In a presidential proclamation, he barred foreign nationals from entering the country if they had been in China in the previous two weeks. The ordinance exempted US citizens, green card holders and their non-citizen relatives – exceptions recognized as necessary to allow residents to return home and prevent the separation of families. It does not apply to flights from Hong Kong and Macao.

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