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Coronavirus Spurs CDC Foreign Quarantine Regulation Change

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an interim final rule to amend its Foreign Quarantine regulations, in response to the outbreak of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Effective Feb. 7, the interim final rule allows CDC to require that airlines collect and provide electronically to the agency certain data regarding passengers and crew arriving from foreign countries for the purposes of health education, treatment, prophylaxis, or other appropriate public health interventions, including travel restrictions.

Any airline with a flight arriving into the United States is required to collect and transmit to CDC these passenger data elements:

  • full name;
  • address while in the United States;
  • email address;
  • primary phone number; and
  • secondary phone number.

CDC acknowledged that this interim final rule will create technical and logistical challenges for airlines. But the agency believes identification and notification of those exposed to 2019-nCoV is an essential first step toward giving them access to potentially lifesaving medical screening; disease prevention measures, including vaccination; and medical treatment and supportive care.

Enforcement of the interim final rule will end on the earlier of (1) the date that is two incubation periods after the last known case of 2019-nCoV; or (2) when there is no longer a need for this interim final rule, as determined by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Comments on the interim final rule may be submitted to HHS by March 13.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Maryellen Guinan is a senior policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

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