LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The first day of strong travel restrictions to and from China go into effect Sunday at the Los Angeles International Airport.
LAX will be one of only seven airports in the nation accepting incoming flights from China as coronavirus concerns spread.
Travelers at the airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal could be seen wearing face masks in order to help protect themselves.
“So we just want to protect ourselves, to be ready to protect ourselves,” said international traveler Roy Tran.
Travelers said they are aware of the spread of coronavirus throughout the world.
“I don’t wanna get germs, cause you know it’s spreading, so it’s good to wear it,” said traveler Charlene Jacob.
Sun Shaohui is returning home to China to a health situation that wasn’t there when she left.
“Two weeks ago we came here,” Shaohui said. “At that time there was no outbreak increase at that time.”
Starting Sunday, all incoming travel from China to the U.S. will stop at just seven airports, including LAX, where CDC officials are screening arriving passengers for signs of the novel coronavirus.
All three major U.S. airlines will either suspend or reduce flights to and from China.
Foreign nationals who have traveled to China over the last two weeks will be banned from entry.
On Friday, both Delta Air Lines and American Airlines announced they will suspend all flights between the U.S. and China with Delta halting flights through April 30 and American suspending them through March 27.
The travel limitations could take a toll on California, as the state is the top destination for Chinese tourists.
According to VisitCalifornia.com, Chinese visitors spent $4 billion in the Golden State in 2019 alone. Airlines offer 45,000 non-stop seats between China and California every week.
The average visitor spends two weeks and over $2,000 during their stay, the website reported.
On Wednesday, a U.S. State Department-chartered airplane carrying 195 Americans arrived at the March Air Reserve Base from Wuhan, China, the region where this new strain of coronavirus is believed to have started. On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a mandatory 14-day quarantine order for all 195 passengers starting from Jan. 29, when their plane left Wuhan. One of those passengers had attempted to leave the base Thursday while under a voluntary quarantine.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency.
The U.S. declared its own public health emergency Friday over the outbreak. Beginning Sunday, flights arriving from China will be restricted — only allowed to land at seven airports, including L.A. International Airport. All passengers arriving from the Hubei Province of China will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine after arrival.
LAX is increasing efforts to keep travelers and workers safe. The airports said in a statement that those efforts include deep cleaning of restroom facilities and other public areas and installing more than 100 additional hand sanitizer stations throughout the airport.