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430,000 Travellers from China Have Entered the United States Since the Coronavirus Began, Reveals Flight Data

Mark Andrew

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  • The United States is now officially the country with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases.
  • Flight data gathered by The New York Times has revealed that about 430,000 passengers from China have entered the United States since news about the virus broke out.

As of April 6, 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has already infected over 1.2 million people and claimed almost 70,000 lives. The United States has since become the country with the most number of confirmed cases at 336,851.

According to existing reports, Chinese authorities only alerted the World Health Organization about the new flu-like disease on December 31. The market in the port city of Wuhan has since been shut down on January 1 after the origins of the virus was detected there. At that point, several cases have already been recorded.

Apparently, the first known case in the province of Hubei has been traced back to November 17, 2019 when a 55-year-old patient was diagnosed with the mysterious illness. The virus has since spread not only in China but across numerous countries globally. By March 11, 2020, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has already categorized the disease as a pandemic.

Of course, it should be noted that while many countries have since borders have been closed in an attempt to curb the virus, around 430,000 travellers from China have arrived in the United States since authorities identified the new virus and until travel restrictions have been put in place between the two countries.

According to the flight data gathered by the New York Times, 279 flights from Wuhan have entered the United States across this period. Majority of these travellers, who are composed of different nationalities, arrived from Wuhan, China in major airports around the country such as Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Newark, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Health screenings only happened around the middle of January in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco airports and only those traveling from Wuhan have been screened. Still, the travellers themselves admit it wasn’t a very strict procedure at all.

31-year-old Andrew Wu, who travelled from Beijing, told NY Times:

“I was surprised at how lax the whole process was. The guy I spoke to read down a list of questions, and he didn’t seem interested in checking out anything.”

Meanwhile, Sabrina Fitch, a 23-year-old English teacher in China, travelled back to the US on March 23 and along with other passengers, their temperature were taken and they were asked to fill forms. But that was mostly it.

“Besides looking at our passports, they didn’t question us like we normally are questioned,” Sabrina shared. “So it was kind of weird, because everyone expected the opposite, where you get a lot of questions. But once we filled out the little health form, no one really cared.”

Just recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have changed its stance about face masks as they encouraged Americans to wear them when going out in public. According to the organization, wearing masks can be a good protection since the virus can be transmitted via coughing, sneezing, and even talking.

A Chinese biochemist has earlier warned both the United States and Europe that not wearing masks is a “big mistake.”

Meanwhile, even Bill Gates himself has said in a talk that the US has missed its chance to avoid COVID-19.

“We did not act fast enough,” lamented the Microsoft co-founder.

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