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Airports and health authorities are seeking to contain a virus that has killed nine people in China and had cases confirmed in four other countries.
The virus, called 2019-nCoV, originated in the city of Wuhan, and airports are stepping up efforts to screen and quarantine passengers from the city — and in some cases all of China.
Authorities across the globe are seeking to stop the spread of a mysterious virus that has killed nine people and infected more than 400 in China.
The virus, called 2019-nCoV, originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, which is home to 11 million people and serves as a major transport hub for travel both within China and internationally.
Cases of the virus have spread across China and some have been identified in other countries, including the US, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, while other countries have suspected cases.
Authorities say the virus can spread from human to human, and are extra concerned about travel spreading the virus as hundreds of millions of people prepare to move within China and to other countries to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Here’s how airports around the world are trying to stop the spread of the virus:
China is checking the temperature of all passengers taking off from Wuhan temperatures — doing so in bus terminals and train stations as well as airports.
The country said it will increase screenings around the country, and is encouraging people not to travel to Wuhan.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been screening and introducing quarantine measures in major airports, and funneling all passengers from Wuhan through them.
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The CDC started screening passengers from Wuhan at New York’s JFK Airport, LA’s LAX Airport, and San Francisco International Airport last weekend.
The CDC later announced that it was expanding this to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
It said that any travellers from Wuhan will have to land at one of the five airports, where they can be screened.
This means individual flyers will be rerouted — and potentially whole planes diverted.
‘CDC, working with DHS, also will funnel all travelers from Wuhan, China to the five airports conducting entry health screening. Together, the five airports will cover all travelers arriving in the United States whose travel originated from Wuhan, China,” the center said.
One case of the virus has been confirmed in the US, with a US citizen returning to Seattle from Wuhan taken ill.
The UK is monitoring flights, and directing flights from Wuhan to an isolated part of the airport.
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Flights from Wuhan to London’s Heathrow Airport will have to land in an isolated part of the airport’s Terminal 4 and will be met by health professionals, a government source told the BBC.
No cases of the virus have been recorded in the UK, but it will monitor flights.
There are currently three direct flights a week from Wuhan to London Heathrow, the BBC reported.
Japan is screening passengers, and giving them a health questionnaire.
Japan has recorded one case of the virus.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered increased quarantine checks at airports, and people arriving from Wuhan have to fill in health forms, The Associated Press reported.
One Japanese Health Ministry Official said: “We are stepping up quarantine procedures and instructing people who are coming into Japan from China to declare themselves if they have any symptoms associated with the illness and to immediately undergo a medical exam if they feel unwell.”
Hong Kong is carrying out checks, and cleaning planes and trains coming from Wuhan.
ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images
Local media reported on Wednesday that Hong Kong has its first confirmed case of the virus.
The city is making passengers from Wuhan fill in health declaration forms and undergo temperature checks at train stations and Hong Kong International Airport.
Trains and planes that go through Wuhan are also getting extra cleaning, and the city has also prepared quarantine areas in case they are needed, Reuters reported.
Thailand is reportedly screening arrivals from other parts of China, and not just Wuhan.
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Police said they are checking for passengers with high temperatures, coughs, headaches and trouble breathing.
They are reportedly checking passengers from Beijing and Shenzhen, and not just Wuhan.
South Korea is bringing travellers from Wuhan through special gates at airports.
South Korea has one confirmed case fo the virus.
At its only airport that has flights to Wuhan, passengers from the city have to go through special gates and are checked with ear thermometers, The Associated Press reported.
The AP also reported that parts of the airport are being disinfected more frequently.
Singapore is inspecting all passengers from China, and isolating people with symptoms.
Singapore said it is expanding temperature checks to cover any passengers arriving at Changi Airport from China, the AP reported.
It also said that anyone who shows signs of pneumonia and has been to Wuhan recently will be kept in hospital and examined as a precaution.
Australia has no cases yet, but expects the virus to arrive soon, and is preparing itself.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said it was “quite likely” that the virus would reach Australia, but that the country is prepared.
He said Australia would not install temperature monitors at airports, claiming they only detect around 10% of cases.
Instead, medical officials will meet and interview passengers off the plane, looking for symptoms.
He also said health officials are distributing pamphlets in English and Chinese to passengers, outlining the symptoms of infection and asking passengers who have any to to identify themselves.
India is expanding screening to more efforts, checking passengers from all of China and Hong Kong, and is making in-flight announcements.
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India is screening passengers from China, including Hong Kong, and The Associated Press reported that it increasing the number of airports where this is taking place from three to seven.
The AP also reported that in-flight announcements will ask passengers who have been in Wuhan recently and have any symptoms to identify themselves.
Rome is checking incoming Wuhan passengers, and said it could potentially quarantine them in hospital.
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Italy’s health ministry said that people coming from Wuhan to Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport will be checked for symptoms, and potentially quarantined in a hospital.
There are also posters that advise people to delay any travel they have planned to Wuhan and the surrounding area, and that they should avoid animals if they do go, the AP reported.
Airlines are also taking their own steps.
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Japan Airlines said about flights arriving from across Asia: “We have started issuing announcements on our flights for anyone who feels unwell to contact quarantine officers as soon as possible.”
And Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific said its staff can wear surgical masks on all flights if they want.
These methods might not be enough, as there are other ways to travel to these countries, and other countries that are not yet screening.
AFP via Getty Images
Not everyone from China is being checked, and some people who were already infected have made it to other countries.
Most cases confirmed in China have been from Wuhan, but the virus has made it further in China and in other countries.
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