US Begins Screening Travelers for Chinese Coronavirus - Health Agency

US Begins Screening Travelers for Chinese Coronavirus - Health Agency

Agency News

Washington, Jan 18: US health authorities have stepped up screening for the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV) among airline passengers traveling between the United States and China’s Wuhan, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will implement enhanced health screenings to detect ill travelers traveling to the United States on direct or connecting flights from Wuhan, China," the CDC said in a notice on Friday. "This activity is in response to an outbreak in China caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (2019 nCoV), with exported cases to Thailand and Japan."

The CDC said that beginning today travelers from Wuhan to the United States will undergo entry screening for symptoms associated with 2019-nCoV at three US airports that receive most of the travelers from Wuhan, China: San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles airports.

CDC is placing about 100 additional staff at the three airports to supplement existing screening efforts at its quarantine stations located there.

Based on current information, the risk from 2019-nCoV to the American public was deemed to be low, the CDC said. Nevertheless, it was taking proactive preparedness precautions, the agency added.

"Investigations into this novel coronavirus are ongoing and we are monitoring and responding to this evolving situation," Martin Cetron, director of CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, said.

The CDC said Chinese health officials have reported that most of the patients infected with 2019-nCoV have had exposure to a large market where live animals were present, suggesting it was a novel virus that had jumped the species barrier to infect people.

Chinese authorities said several hundred health care workers caring for outbreak patients are being monitored. They report no sustained spread of this virus in the community, however, some limited person-to-person spread may have occurred, the release said. (UNI-Sputnik)