Coronavirus outbreak impacts airports, travel

As the coronavirus continues to infect people — the mysterious virus has been found in five countries, including the U.S., which had its first confirmed case of the pneumonia-like illness in Washington on Tuesday — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Chinese government, among other officials, are cracking down on travel.

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The CDC and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have implemented “enhanced health screenings” for airline passengers arriving from or traveling through the Wuhan province of China. Screenings for the virus began Friday at three major air hubs: San Francisco International Airport (SFO), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

The CDC later announced expanded health entry screenings at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) and O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago.

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The U.S. State Department also updated the language of its China travel advisory on Jan. 23, urging travelers to "Exercise Increased Caution" when traveling to country, and take special precautions if visiting Wuhan. The travel advisory itself, however, remains at Level 2.

On Wednesday, the Chinese government announced a quarantine of the city of Wuhan, where the outbreak is believed to have started. As part of the quarantine, its airport and train stations will reportedly shut down. Bus and train service in the nearby city of Huanggang, as well as rail service in Ezhou, just south of Huanggang, were also shut down.

In Thailand, officials and airports in Bangkok, Krabi, Chiang Mai and Phuket are reportedly screening passengers who arrive from places with recorded cases of the virus.

Japan is requiring arrivals from China to fill out health forms as well as go through health screenings at entry points.

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South Korea, which gets direct flights from Wuhan, has begun checking passengers’ temperatures upon arrival. India has also implemented thermal screening for passengers arriving from China in seven of the country’s airports, the Guardian reported.

Singapore and Malaysia announced they will also expand temperature screenings for arrivals from China.

On Thursday, the Dubai International Airport announced that all passengers on incoming flights from China would be screened. Abu Dhabi International Airport announced it would be taking the same measures on Twitter.

The Saudi Health Ministry also announced intentions to screen travelers on incoming flights from China.

Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya have also begun screening arriving passengers, the Associated Press reported.

Cairo’s International Airport also began screening passengers arriving from China for signs of coronavirus infection, airport authorities said Thursday.

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Several other countries are handing out notices to travelers and posting signs in popular tourist areas warning of coronavirus symptoms and informing them to get checked if they occur.

The virus has been linked to at least 17 deaths and has sickened over 500 others. It can reportedly be spread human-to-human, according to the Chinese government.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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