Rick Scott: DHS Needs to Do More to Protect Americans from Coronavirus

On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., wrote to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Sec. Chad Wolf requesting information on the agency’s plan to address coronavirus and called for increased screenings at airports for foreign nationals coming from any region that is a growing concern for transmission of the virus.

Scott’s letter is below:

Dear Acting Secretary Wolf:

As the world continues to grapple with the threat of the Chinese Coronavirus, I urge the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take every precaution to protect Americans.

We now know that the spread of the virus has extended well beyond Communist China, and is rapidly spreading in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Due to these developments, I am calling on DHS to increase screening at airports for foreign nationals coming from any region that is a growing concern for virus transmission. I also ask that you provide detailed answers on DHS’s plan to address the Chinese Coronavirus:

Given the rapid spread of the Chinese Coronavirus virus outside of Communist China, is DHS considering more temporary travel restrictions from additional countries or regions? If so, which areas?

How can U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at U.S. airports verify and confirm that passengers are being truthful about their travel to affected regions

Is DHS planning to increase the number of screening airports for funneling of passengers? If so, when and which airports?

Should we consider restricting travel for foreign nationals coming into U.S. from countries that are not taking the same precautions as the U.S., like advanced screenings and mandatory quarantines?

Does DHS have a plan in place to identify and take action to address shortages in the medical supply chain impacting its personnel, including prescription drugs and protective gear like face masks and gloves? What is the plan for alternatives if shortages exist?

How is DHS coordinating with state and local officials to address the Chinese Coronavirus?

Do you remain confident that imports screened by DHS coming from Communist China, including food products, produce, and pharmaceuticals, are safe from the Chinese Coronavirus?

The United States must continue to do everything we can to contain infection cases and stop the spread of the Chinese Coronavirus. DHS plays a critical role in keeping Americans safe, and I look forward to hearing from you.

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