With the NCoV2019, or Coronavirus, circulating in China and making its way around the world, many are concerned about whether and how the United States might implement quarantine rules to slow the spread of the virus.

The United States and the 50 state governments all play different roles and hold different legal authorities in the time of a severe outbreak or pandemic. The general structure is that the federal government (through the CDC and Department of Health and Human Services) has the capacity to inspect and quarantine all individuals and vessels entering the United States or moving between states when the government believes that travelers may have the pathogen. Only the state governments have authority to isolate individuals within their homes or hospitals within the states.

The following sites contain some useful guides and links to the relevant statutes, regulations, and executive orders that assign various duties and powers to government bodies to control epidemic spread of disease:

https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/aboutlawsregulationsquarantineisolation.html

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2014/08/06/2014-18682/revised-list-of-quarantinable-communicable-diseases

https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-quarantine-and-isolation-statutes.aspx