CBP Enacts ‘Enhanced Health Screening’ as Chinese Coronavirus Comes to U.S.

A screen shows a map of the Wuhan transportation in China as Professor Gabriel Leung, Founding Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control, left, and Professor Joseph Wu, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, HKUMed, attend a news conference on the Wuhan …
AP Photo/Kin Cheung

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials implemented “enhanced health screening” for travelers arriving at key U.S. airports from Wuhan, China. The action by CBP officials follows the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the United States on Tuesday.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have implemented enhanced health screening for travelers entering the United States on direct or connecting flights from Wuhan, China due to an outbreak of pneumonia caused by a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV),” CBP officials said in a written statement on Tuesday afternoon. “This additional health screening is now in place at three U.S. airports—John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Chicago-O’Hare and Atlanta International Airports will add entry health screening later this week.”

The enhanced health screening by CBP officers, in coordination with CDC officials, began on Friday, CBP officials told Breitbart Texas. The announcement of the screening process follows the confirmation by CDC officials of the first Wuhan coronavirus, also known as, 2019-nCoV, in Seattle. -nCoV, in Seattle. A man traveling from China was diagnosed at a Seattle hospital as having the virus, Breitbart News reported.

CBP officials report the agency already has protocols in place to identify the travelers who may exhibit overt signs of illness at U.S. ports of entry. These protocols are designed to detect potentially infected people and minimize the risk to the traveling public.

Based on current information, the CDC has determined that the novel coronavirus presents a low risk to the American public; however, they are taking precautions. More information about the novel coronavirus, including measures that travelers can take to protect themselves, is available on the CDC website.

Members of the traveling public, especially those traveling to Wuhan, should exercise precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, CDC officials reported on Tuesday. Those precautions include many of the same steps that should be taken to prevent the spread of the common cold or flu. Those include:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • 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.
  • Older travelers and those with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their healthcare provider.

CDC officials also ask that anyone who recently traveled to Wuhan and experience symptoms of a fever, cough, or breathing difficulties should:

  • 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.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your 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.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally stated the enhanced medical screening at airports by CBP officers began after the announcement of the first Wuhan coronavirus case announced on Tuesday. CBP officials provided additional information revealing the enhanced screening actually began last Friday.

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