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CDC Advises Avoiding Nonessential Travel to China

January 29, 2020, 6:00 AM HST
* Updated January 28, 9:15 PM
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The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention is recommending people avoid nonessential travel to China due to the ongoing outbreak of a respiratory illness in the area.

The CDC issued the updated travel recommendations on Tuesday. Person-to-person community spread of the virus, also known as 2019-nCoV, also known as the coronavirus, is reportedly occurring in Wuhan, China, according to the CDC. Chinese health officials confirmed the report of thousands of reported cases.

Community spread with this virus has not been reported in locations outside China.

The CDC reports travel-associated cases have been identified outside the outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan, China, including the United States, where five cases have been detected in travelers returning from Wuhan.

“No person-to-person spread has been detected in the United States at this time and this virus is not spreading in the community,” the CDC states. “While it’s possible that some person-to-person spread with this virus may be detected in the United States, the goal of the ongoing US public health response is to contain this outbreak and prevent sustained spread in this country.”

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The Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on O‘ahu has no direct flights to Wuhan, China. The Honolulu airport is one of 20 airports in the country that already has a CDC Quarantine Station enforcing foreign quarantine regulations.

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Hawai‘i Department of Transportation Spokesman Tim Sakahara said the HDOT Airports Division is working closely with the CDC and the Hawai‘i Department of Health regarding the coronavirus.

HDOTA follows the direction of the CDC regarding additional screening practices at any of the airports in the state, Sakahara added.

The CDC initially announced entry screening at San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX) and New York (JFK) and has added Atlanta (ATL) and Chicago (ORD) to the list.

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“There are no direct flights from Wuhan, China to Hawaii,” Sakahara said. “HDOTA will continue to monitor communication and developments with the CDC regarding the evolving situation.”

Based on current information, the CDC states, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time. However, risk is dependent on exposure and some people will have greater risk of infection, such as, healthcare workers caring for coronavirus patients and other close contacts.

“CDC is aggressively responding to this serious public health situation to help protect the health of Americans,” they report. “This response may cause disruptions in some people’s daily lives. This is unfortunate, but necessary to protect the health of Americans.”

Those who have traveled to Wuhan and feel sick, should do the following:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Stay home. Except for seeking medical care, avoid contact with others.
  • Not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol- based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available

For more information, including information for clinicians and public health professionals, please go to the following CDC and WHO webpages:

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