The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has set up screening points at airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York for travelers from China who may have contracted a deadly, fast-spreading virus.
China’s national health administration has a confirmed number over 300 cases of the virus — 77 of which were reported on January 20. And on Monday, 60 new cases were confirmed in Wuhan, the city where the disease is thought to have originated. Known as coronavirus, Chinese health authorities have confirmed the virus has potential for human-to-human transmission and has spread out as far as Japan and Thailand.
“Investigations into this novel coronavirus are ongoing and we are monitoring and responding to this evolving situation,” Martin Cetron, the director of CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, said in a statement.
CDC officials at the airports will be examining travelers for fever and symptoms like coughing or difficulty breathing.
The CDC has updated a Level 1 “practice usual precautions” health notice for travelers headed to Wuhan, the city in Central China where the disease was first discovered. Those infected with the disease had “links to a large seafood and live animal market,” according to the organization.
Attention to the virus is particularly high during one of China’s busiest travel seasons of the year. This year’s Lunar New Year festivities are expected to see at least three billion trips from people traveling for the celebrations during the coming weeks, the Chinese State Council said.
A variety of Chinese travel booking sites are offering travelers free cancellations on their Lunar New Year plans, according to Reuters. China’s civil aviation and railway operators have yet to implement a cancellation policy but at least nine of China’s airlines have allowed those who have been quarantined or diagnosed with the disease to reschedule or cancel their flights.
Tour agencies have been banned from being people out of Wuhan, according to CNN, and coronavirus screening areas in public spaces are expected to increase.
Taiwan discovered its first case of the disease at Taoyuan International Airport on Tuesday, according to a Taiwanese outlet.
“Much remains to be understood about the new coronavirus, which was first identified in China earlier this month,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement last week. “Not enough is known about 2019-nCoV to draw definitive conclusions about how it is transmitted, clinical features of disease, or the extent to which it has spread. The source also remains unknown.”
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