This has been a busy season for viruses. It started with an extra strong flu season, now the norovirus strikes in Yosemite Park and the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has triggered enhanced health screenings to detect ill travelers to the US. Travelers from Wuhan, China to San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK), and Los Angeles (LAX) airports will undergo entry screening for symptoms associated with 2019-nCoV starting January 17.
Currently the risk is considered low, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will implement enhanced health screenings as proactive preparedness precautions.
Airports, airlines, ships and other transportation methods should increase the number of deep cleanings to eliminate the potential spread of micro-organisms. As your facility prepares for passengers that may be carrying germs, your priority should be to stop the spread in its tracks. By increasing the cleaning frequency of high-touch areas and offering inoculations to staff members, you can get ahead of potential outbreaks. Also, encourage your passengers to practice healthy techniques while they are with you.
Travelers should avoid contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead), and animal markets. They should also practice healthy traveler techniques and take precautions to help protect themselves while they are enjoying their time away from home.
Wash hands, sanitize & remember your internal health
Keeping your hands clean in one of the most important things you can do when traveling. The CDC suggests that you wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. As a backup, use sanitizer when handwashing is not available.
To support your internal systems, make sure to eat extra healthy before and during your trip. Bring some of your favorite snacks that are packed full of vitamins, drink lots of water and rest when possible.
Preliminary information suggests that older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be at an increased risk for severe disease from this virus.
Entry screening alone is not a guarantee against the possible importation of this new virus, but it is an important public health tool during periods of uncertainty and part of a multilayered government response strategy. For the latest information on the outbreak, visit CDC’s Novel Coronavirus 2019 website.
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