Thousands of Chinese nationals have reportedly come to the United States since President Trump restricted travel to foreign nationals in January, arriving from China after the coronavirus outbreak.
According to a new report from The Associated Press, citing the information it received about travel from the US Department of Commerce, as many as 8,000 Chinese nationals and foreigners in Hong Kong and Macao have joined the United States over the past three months.
More than 600 flights took in travelers from these areas after Trump announced his travel ban in late January and it was adopted on February 2.
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Trump’s first travel ban included all non-US travelers coming from China and excluding anyone coming from Hong Kong or Macau at the end of January.
Also, travelers from Hong Kong and Macao did not face the same screening or screening processes as Americans or foreign nationals who came to the United States after being in Wuhan – where the coronavirus outbreak began.
Flight records from FlightAware provided to The Associated Press revealed that 5,600 Chinese and foreign nationals from Hong Kong and Macau arrived in the United States in February. More than 2,000 passengers from the same administrative zones arrived in March and another 150 in April, according to the AP report.
There is not enough evidence that people from these flights transmitted coronavirus, but the National Security Council, State Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would not publicly comment on why these territories were exempt from the Chinese travel ban.
An administrative official told AP that the travel ban was suspended after more than 12,000 people arrived in the United States through the two territories in January, according to the Trade Register.
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The Trump administration said it would also require all Americans who have traveled through China and back to the United States to undergo a 14-day quarantine period.
But according to data collected by The Associated Press, the system that was supposed to track and monitor the people who underwent quarantine lost track of at least 1,600 Americans.
Trump has tried his border closures, first from China, then European countries and Brazil, as America’s first line of defense against coronavirus.
In a tweet last week. the president said, “We did a good job on Coronavirus, including the very early ban on China.”
“We saved millions of American lives! Still, Fake News refuses to acknowledge this in a positive way, “he added.
Trump’s travel ban on China came into force on February 2, when 15 people had already been confirmed with corona virus in Hong Kong and seven in Macau.
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The Macau cases were later linked directly to Wuhan, the origin of the outbreak.
The United States has reported more than 2.7 million cases of coronavirus and nearly 130,000 deaths during the pandemic.
Hong Kong has since banned all travelers from the United States
The Associated Press contributed to this report.