Published: Sun, January 19, 2020
Medical | By

Will I be screened for coronavirus at the airport?

Will I be screened for coronavirus at the airport?

The change comes as USA officials say three American airports will screen passengers arriving from central China for a new virus that has sickened dozens, killed two and prompted worries about an worldwide outbreak.

"We're expecting the screening over the next couple of weeks could include as many as 5,000 people across three airports", he said. SFO and JFK are the only airports in the USA with direct flights from Wuhan; LAX receives indirect flights from Wuhan, he said.

He said the CDC wants to be prepared and they are taking precautions in the event of an outbreak but also says the risks to the American public are low.

"It is likely that the Wuhan outbreak of a novel coronavirus has caused substantially more cases of moderate or severe respiratory illness than now reported", the report stated, according to Sky News. Outside of China, the virus has been detected in two people traveling to Thailand and one person traveling to Japan. The country expects almost a million Chinese visitors during the Lunar New Year break and has increased monitoring at airports that have flights from Wuhan. She is being treated in the same hospital, east of Bangkok, as a Chinese woman who was diagnosed with the virus after entering the country last week.

Passengers will be asked about their health and checked for symptoms.

Three travelers - two now in Thailand and one in Japan - who have visited Wuhan but not the market have been infected with the virus, suggesting that human-to-human transmission may be possible and raising concerns about the spread of the virus.

There they will answer more questions and will be tested for the new virus as well as other illnesses, such as the flu, that may be causing their illness.

Chinese scientists say the illness is in the same family as the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome known as SARS but they say it does not appear as lethal.

While the new virus has not shown death rates like MERS and SARS - which infected more than 8,000 people and killed 774 in a pandemic that ripped through Asia in 2002 and 2003 - so little is known about it that health authorities are calling for vigilance.

Although the market was shut down and disinfected January 1, additional cases of the virus have been reported since. The lunar new year on January 25 is expected to draw large numbers of Chinese travelers, he said.

The outbreak in Wuhan, China, began in late December, with many cases linked to a large seafood market.

WHO has since provided guidance for hospitals around the world about virus prevention and control in case the virus eventually spreads.

Around 1,400 people from Wuhan arrive in Thailand every day.

Researchers are still trying to determine the source of the outbreak, the incubation period of the virus, and, if humans can transmit the virus to others, how often that occurs.

Officials said the pneumonia likely spread from animals to people, but were unable to rule out the possibility of human-to-human transmission, which would allow it to spread much faster.

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