Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is calling on the Trump administration to implement a targeted travel ban on China amid growing fears over the coronavirus, detailing his proposal in a letter sent to secretaries Mike Pompeo, Alex Azar, and Chad Wolf on Tuesday.
“I write to urge you to implement a targeted travel ban on China to protect America from the Wuhan coronavirus,” Cotton wrote in a letter to Trump administration officials on Tuesday.
“Given the last developments and the many unknowns about this virus, we ought to follow Benjamin Franklin’s maxim: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care,” he continued, citing the recent reports of the virus infecting over 4,500 people and killing over 100.
Cotton added that the numbers could be much higher, “given the Chinese Community Party’s long history of covering up and minimizing these crises.”
Cotton notes that, given the long incubation period of the virus, the administration’s “laudable efforts to screen persons traveling from China could be for naught” and proposes four steps he believes the administration should take.
Those include halting flights from China to the U.S., evacuating American citizens in China “under appropriate, elevated monitoring,” developing “strict criteria for allowing critical trade to continue,” and allowing medical professionals and scientists to travel to China to “address this crisis.”
“Finally, I also urge the administration to marshal the full resources of the federal government to engineer a vaccine to the virus,” Cotton adds, stressing his confidence in federal agencies developing a vaccine in “record time.”
Cotton’s call to action follows his previous warnings and concerns about the coronavirus outbreak and the Chinese government’s honesty, which Breitbart News detailed last week:
He urged Secretary Azar to immediately brief Congress if the administration becomes aware of misinformation from the Chinese Communists with regard to the coronavirus.
“For these reasons, the CCP’s calls for transparency about the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus are deeply suspect,” Cotton wrote. “I urge the Department of Health and Human Services to carefully vet any information being passed from its contacts in Beijing. If you have reason to believe that U.S. officials are being provided with false or misleading information about the disease from Chinese government officials, I ask that you notify Congress immediately.”
Cotton then noted that the administration should be considering banning travel from China to the United States to prevent spread of the disease to America’s shores.
“Moreover, given China’s dismal record on these matters, your Department and all relevant agencies of the U.S. Government must be proactive in planning for scenarios where this infection continues to spread,” Cotton wrote. “Measures such as screening all travelers from the People’s Republic of China and, if necessary, banning entry to those traveling from China must be contemplated and prepared in order to keep Americans safe. It is imperative that the United States, China, and other relevant governments and international bodies cooperate to prevent this virus from becoming a pandemic. This cooperation must be conducted on the basis of facts, not the CCP’s political fiction.”
The U.S. State Department has since issued a Level 4 travel advisory, “do not travel” for the Chinese city of Wuhan, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 warning, “reconsider travel” for the entire country.