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At least 140 travelers denied entry to US due to coronavirus outbreak

Two children in Uganda have died and 11 others have been hospitalised after they ate pancakes made with pesticides instead of cooking oil, according to the Daily Monitor newspaper.
All 13 children are from the same family in Budumba, western Uganda.

The Trump administration has prevented at least 140 travelers from entering the United States as it attempts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Fourteen foreign nationals were turned away at US airports and 126 people were refused entry at land ports from February 2 to 12, according to data provided to CNN by the Department of Homeland Security.

Airlines are responsible for removing passengers who are denied entry to the US out of the country. Additionally, 34 travelers were stopped at pre-clearance locations — airports where US officials conduct screening before passengers board US-bound flights.

On February 2, the US began implementing stringent travel restrictions that include temporarily denying entry to foreign nationals who visited China in the 14 days prior to their arrival in the US. US citizens returning from China are also subject to health screenings and potential quarantine. Those US citizens and others traveling to the US from China are being funneled through 11 airports where authorities can conduct additional screening and transfer people for quarantine if needed.

Last summer, as the Ebola virus threat was emerging from the Democratic Republic of Congo, DHS’ Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office implemented plans to provide enhanced airport screening at multiple airports throughout the United States. The department’s chief medical officer is housed within the CWMD office.

The department retrofitted its Ebola response plan to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, according to DHS.

Customs officers referred 43,263 air travelers for potential secondary screening since the efforts began on February 2. Of those referred at airports, 23,836 required secondary screening, according to the data.

Personnel has been added to deal with the virus as well. Around 95 CWMD contractors are employed per day across the 11 airports to conduct medical screenings. As of February 12, 19 DHS personnel were assigned to the US Department of Health and Human Services operations center.

There are also 150-200 Customs and Border Protection officers assisting with screening daily at the 11 airports.

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