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Coronavirus Emergency Preparedness and Response

Coronavirus Emergency Preparedness and Response

February 19, 2020

As you’re likely aware, Chinese authorities have confirmed an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in early December 2019. U.S. Travel and the British Educational Travel Association have shared updates, resources and guidance with its members for staying safe and healthy.

U.S. Travel has been in close contact with authorities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the new strain of coronavirus believed to have begun in Wuhan, China and have held multiple calls with CDC officials, who have presently determined this as a “Level 2: Practice Enhanced Precautions” health event.

 As with previous public health incidents, U.S. Travel is closely monitoring the situation for its potential impact on travel, alerting government officials to the travel industry’s interests and needs, and is developing resources for individual response and communications efforts.

Travelers are encouraged to follow guidance issued by official sources of public health information, such as the CDC. U.S. health officials have begun screening passengers from Wuhan at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport. The Department of Homeland Security and CDC officials report they plan to expand screening at additional airports, including Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Recent reporting by the Associated Press focuses on the market’s reaction to the situation, including messaging from U.S. Travel on traveler readiness.

For more resources and guidance, visit the US Travel Toolkit here.

Additionally, the British Educational Travel Association (BETA) has shared a situation update from the U.K. standpoint:

On 31 December 2019, Wuhan’s health commission announced the first case of a then unknown coronavirus. As of 22 January 2020 (13:00), there have been 440 cases and 9 fatalities. The majority of cases reported are in Wuhan, with others reported in Japan, Thailand, Beijing, Shenzhen and the US. There have been a number of suspected but unconfirmed cases in Hong Kong. To date there have been no British nationals identified with the virus. 

The UK has updated their travel advice on 21 January to reflect that of Public Health England. The risk to the UK population has been assessed as low. The UK is well prepared for new diseases and our approach is being kept under constant review. From 22 January 2020, enhanced monitoring will be in place from all direct flights from Wuhan to the UK. The enhanced monitoring package includes a number of measures that will help to provide advice to travellers if they feel unwell. There are 3 direct flights a week that arrive at Heathrow from Wuhan. The enhanced monitoring of direct flights will be kept under continuous review and expanded to other Chinese departure points if necessary. Leaflets and information will be made available across all UK airports, advising travellers from China on what to do if they feel unwell. The UK is well prepared for new diseases and our approach is being kept under constant review.

For more information and advice, visit the following: TravelHealthPro website | website | Public Health England

For insight on travel insurance concerns related to coronavirus, visit: Travel Market Report 


Courtesy of SYTA.