The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) together with the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will start to implement enhanced health screenings at three U.S. airports to detect airline travelers infected with a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
According to the CDC, the enhanced health screenings will focus on passengers coming into the United States from Wuhan, China where there an outbreak of the new coronavirus. It is deploying around 100 additional staff at its quarantine stations in the airports of Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York (LAX, SFO, JFK).
Exposure to the new coronavirus already resulted to the death of two individuals and more than 40 people became ill in Central China. It already spread in Japan and Thailand.
Symptoms of coronavirus infection include cough fever and difficulty of breathing. In the past, people infected with several known human coronaviruses suffered with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
Chinese health officials reported that most of the patients infected with the 2019–nCoV went to a large seafood and live animal market in Wuhan City. They noted indications that some limited person-to-person spread of the virus may have happened. The patients were tested negative for SARS and MERS.
The spread of the new coronavirus in the U.S. is “currently deemed low”
The CDC said the risk of the spread of 2019-nCoV to the American public is “currently deemed to be low.” However, it is implementing the enhanced health screenings “out of an abundance of caution.”
In a statement, Dr. Martin Cetron, Martin Cetron, M.D., Director of CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, said, “To further protect the health of the American public during the emergence of this novel coronavirus, CDC is beginning entry screening at three ports of entry. Investigations into this novel coronavirus are ongoing and we are monitoring and responding to this evolving situation.”
The CDC will reassess its entry screening measures as it receives new information regarding the 2019-nCoV outbreak in China. It could scale up or down its preventive measures accordingly.