China has agreed to allow American health experts into the country to help in the effort to fight the coronavirus outbreak , US officials said on Monday as they pushed back against Beijing’s assertion that Washington has overreacted with its aggressive response to the crisis. “China has accepted the United States’ offer to incorporate a group of experts into a World Health Organisation mission to China to learn more about and combat the virus,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said. Earlier on Monday, a top official from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said the US government’s response to the coronavirus – which includes closing borders to visitors who have been in China – was “science based”. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Centre for Immunisation and Respiratory Diseases, said the measures were aimed at “slowing the entry of the virus into the United States”. “These actions are science based and they are protecting the health and safety of all Americans,” she said, adding that “action now has the biggest potential to slow things down”. Messonnier said that despite the low number of cases in the US – compared with more than 20,000 reported infections in China – CDC officials were “preparing as if this were the next pandemic” after the country’s last large-scale virus outbreak, the 2009 spread of the H1N1 flu. The CDC meanwhile has sent four teams to US Defence Department facilities in preparation for the return of more Americans from the central city of Wuhan in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, after the arrival last week of the first batch of 195 Americans on a government-chartered plane. China’s top task is to stop coronavirus, Xi Jinping says The new evacuees will be under mandatory quarantine for 14 days just like the 195 people, who are staying at March Air Reserve Base in California, Messonnier said. Before the announcement that American health experts would be allowed in to China, Messonnier said US participation would be beneficial because of the CDC’s “incredibly strong scientists who have a lot technical experience in really similar diseases”. The US, which has 11 confirmed coronavirus cases, declared a public health emergency last week and temporarily banned foreign nationals who have travelled to mainland China in the last two weeks. Two of the 11 cases involve human-to-human transmission of the contagion, which is also known as the 2019 novel coronavirus. There have been six cases in California, two in Illinois and one each in Massachusetts, Arizona and Washington state. One hundred sixty-seven people have tested negative, and 82 cases remain pending. Asked to comment on the current condition of the 11 infected people, Messonnier said the individual states’ health authorities were best placed to offer those details. “But I can tell you that we have seen a spectrum of illness among the cases in the US. Some of them have been mild … and there have been ups and downs in patients that have been sicker,” she said. Washington last week issued a level 4 travel advisory, the highest of its kind, warning Americans against travelling to China . Most major US commercial air carriers have cut or suspended flights to and from China. Remaining flights from the mainland are being funnelled through 11 airports: New York’s John F. Kennedy; Chicago’s O’Hare; San Francisco; Seattle; Atlanta; Honolulu; Detroit Metro; Dallas/Fort Worth; Newark, New Jersey; Dulles in Washington, DC; and LAX in Los Angeles. WHO chief calls for caution on coronavirus trade and travel bans Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday that Washington’s actions set a “bad example for other countries” . She said the US had “inappropriately overreacted” with measures that ran counter to the directives of the World Health Organisation. The novel coronavirus outbreak is believed to have originated from Wuhan and has killed 425 people in the mainland so far. It has spread to more than 20 countries, with the Philippines announcing over the weekend the first fatality outside mainland China. Additional reporting by Reuters Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.