Traveling Amidst the Coronavirus Outbreak? Everything You Need to Know

Travelers coming from China to five major airport hubs in the U.S. will undergo "enhanced health screenings" to ensure that they do not have the virus

As more and more cases of the mysterious, deadly coronavirus continue to appear worldwide — a second person in the U.S. was confirmed with the disease Friday — travelers should be aware of ways that they can protect their own health, and avoid disruption while going abroad.

The disease has spread quickly in Asia, with around 900 cases of the respiratory infection and 26 deaths registered as of Wednesday afternoon (per the New York Times).

In addition to tourist destinations, including Shanghai Disneyland, closing their doors while officials attempt to contain the outbreak, airlines around the world are taking precautions to keep travelers as safe as possible.

People wearing mask are seen riding the MTR train on January 22, 2019 in Hong Kong, China
Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty

Though the CDC says that the risk for Americans is “low,” they are stepping up precautions in international airports around the U.S.

Travelers coming from China to five airports — San Francisco International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Los Angeles International Airport, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — will undergo “enhanced health screenings” to ensure that they do not have the virus.

Coronavirus is actually a blanket term for several respiratory illnesses, ranging from the common cold to more severe viruses such as SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The symptoms typically include trouble breathing, fever, coughing, headache and a sore throat.

However, flying domestically in the U.S. should not be a problem, Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in Vanderbilt University’s division of infectious diseases, told CNN.

As for traveling to China, the U.S. State Department‘s Level 2 advisory tells travelers “do not travel to Hubei province, China” and the CDC has issued a Level 3 alert to “avoid nonessential travel” to the area.

According to Fox News, Wuhan is under quarantine as of Wednesday, with train stations and its airport reportedly shut down. Transportation services in neighboring cities have also been shut down.

A man wears a mask while walking in the street on January 22, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China

This comes right before the Lunar New Year holiday in China, the largest travel holiday in the world.

According to CNBC, China is issuing domestic airline and train ticket refunds nationwide. Before Wuhan was under quarantine, approximately 246,000 travelers arrived in the city via plane or train.

Should you have to travel to Wuhan — the presumed origin of this coronavirus — the CDC urges you to avoid contact with sick people, avoid animals, wash your hands often with soap and to be extra cautious if you are an older traveler (the ma.

Several airlines, like American Airlines, are adding health precautions onboard for departures to China.

“American increased provisions of hand sanitizer wipes for flight attendants to use,” American Airlines wrote in a statement.

Investigators have not yet pinpointed exactly how 2019-nCoV spreads, but coronaviruses typically can be transmitted through the air, from coughing and sneezing, and from touching another person or a surface, such as a table or door handle, with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes.

Right now, there are no vaccines that can prevent the transmission of this coronavirus, though the CDC said Tuesday that there are “active conversations” going on with the National Institutes of Health about developing a vaccine.

Related Articles