Publisher's note: This informational nugget was sent to me by Ben Shapiro, who represents the Daily Wire, and since this is one of the most topical news events, it should be published on BCN.
The author of this post is Josh Hammer.
On Friday, freshman Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who is very outspoken on the 21s century geopolitical threat posed by China
, raised with leading Trump administration officials the possibility of restricting or temporarily outright cutting off travel with the country due to the coronavirus that recently emanated from there.
Hawley "sent a letter Friday to the heads of four government agencies to ask whether the Trump administration was considering any potential Chinese travel ban to prevent an American outbreak of the coronavirus,"
National Review reported
Specifically, Hawley tweeted: "As deadly #coronavirus spreads, this morning I've written to the Secretary of State and others to ask whether temporary travel restrictions from affected areas in China may be necessary, and if they are, when American travelers will be notified. Public safety must be #1 priority."
The tweet accompanied a letter
that Hawley sent on Friday to four Cabinet secretaries or acting secretaries: Alex Azar of the Department of Health and Human Services, Chad Wolf of the Department of Homeland Security, Elaine Chao of the Department of Transportation, and Mike Pompeo of the State Department.
Hawley's letter concludes by asking four questions of the Cabinet secretaries:
- Does the federal government have in place procedures and evaluative criteria to guide decisions about restrictions on air travel in the event of disease outbreaks such as this one?
- Given the rate at which public health officials are capable of gaining insight into the severity of such an outbreak, can you offer guidance as to when and how the federal government would decide to implement travel restrictions in the event that an outbreak like this one merited them?
- Have you begun exploring the means by which the federal government might continue to assist China and the international community in containing this outbreak in the event of restrictions on commercial air travel? If not, why not?
- In the event that federal officials make a preliminary determination to rule out restrictions on air travel, will you commit to inform the public that such a determination has been made in the interests of transparency and appropriate public scrutiny?
"The virus, which, causes pneumonia-like symptoms, is related to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, a virus that originated in China and killed hundreds of people in 2002 and 2003," National Review also noted.
Since the virus's breakout, China has quarantined the entire city of Wuhan in an attempt to staunch the virus's pernicious spread.
Conservative commentator Daniel Horowitz, of Blaze Media, wrote
today in support of a Chinese travel ban: "One would expect that the first course of action of the government would be to prevent Chinese from traveling here or Americans from traveling to China and returning, or at least to impose a travel ban on parts of China. That is the first step to ensuring that the disease doesn't spread like wildfire in our country. Yet, as with epidemics of the past, there doesn't seem to be any imminent warning of suspending travel."
Taking a somewhat different approach, Daily Wire columnist Matt Walsh chalked up
the coronavirus as much ado about nothing: "I don't mean to spoil the twist ending, but here's how to protect yourself from the coronavirus if you live in America: Do nothing special at all. Carry on with your life. Wash your hands. Avoid ingesting the bodily fluids of strangers, as much as possible. Do all of the normal things you would do to maintain a healthy life. Media reports indicate that face masks are an 'ineffective' way of preventing the spread of the virus. What the reports forget to mention is that it would be a sign of delusional paranoia if a person in the United States went around wearing a mask for fear of a disease that almost nobody in this hemisphere actually has."