Cicilline urges CDC chief to alert states of travelers from any countries with coronavirus

Cicilline urges CDC chief to alert states of travelers from any countries with coronavirus
© Greg Nash

Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineFacebook takes down Trump campaign ads tying refugees to coronavirus Clark rolls out endorsements in assistant Speaker race Races heat up for House leadership posts MORE (D-R.I.) called Tuesday on the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to alert state governments to incoming travelers arriving from countries experiencing coronavirus outbreaks.

In a letter obtained by CBS affiliate WPRI, Cicilline pointed to recent reports of the virus in Rhode Island resulting in dozens of state residents being monitored for the disease as an example of why agencies should be alerted as early as possible to potential carriers.

"I strongly urge the CDC to provide notifications to state agencies when travelers arrive in the U.S. from other countries with significant or elevated reports of incidents of COVID-19," he wrote, using the official term for the virus.

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"Transparency during this time is critical to ensuring that Americans have access to accurate and timely information needed to prevent contamination and to seek treatment when appropriate," Cicilline added.

Democrats have hammered the Trump administration over its response to the global coronavirus outbreak thus far, accusing the president of downplaying the virus's seriousness while President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump signs bill averting shutdown after brief funding lapse Privacy, civil rights groups demand transparency from Amazon on election data breaches Facebook takes down Trump campaign ads tying refugees to coronavirus MORE himself has accused Democrats of perpetrating a "hoax" over the issue.

The CDC itself also has come under scrutiny amid the outbreak after it was revealed that it failed its first attempt to mass-produce a test kit for the disease.