Working for your Health


Coronavirus declared public health emergency in U.S., some travelers concerned

Posted at 11:39 PM, Jan 31, 2020

There are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the DMV area, but for some local travelers it is still a cause of concern.

More than 200 people have died from the virus, all of them have been in China. Around the world, there’s been more than 11,000 people sickened by the virus in dozens of countries.

So far, there’s been 7 confirmed cases of the virus. There hasn’t been any in the DMV area, but there have been a few scares.

Al Ward, who lives in Bel-Air, is proceeding with caution, saying the virus is “scary”. Ward is travelling to San Diego with his wife from the Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. He brought a mask to cover his mouth.

"You can sit next to somebody on the plane and they might have it, and you don’t know it,” he said. “You don’t know and then you get home and you got it."

Health officials say the risk for an American to get infected with the virus is very low, but the U.S isn’t taking any chances.

On Friday, the Trump administration declared the virus a public health emergency. The administration also announced a travel ban to prevent the virus from spreading to the U.S..

"As a result, foreign nationals, other than immediate family of United States citizens and permanent residents who have travelled in China within the last 14 days will be denied entry into the United States for this time,” said Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services.

The temporary ban will take effect Feb. 2at 5 p.m. . Also, Americans returning from the Hubei province of China in the previous 14 days will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.

American Airlines have suspended all flights to China. Delta and United Airlines will begin suspending flights to China next week. Other airlines have made similar decisions.

We spoke to other travelers at the airport and they didn’t seem to worried about the virus.

"I don’t place it as a much higher risk than the regular flu,” said Emily Weiser.

The BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport does not have flights going to or from China. But one traveler says we should all stay vigilant no matter what.

"You should be cautious,” said Beth Jones. “Just in general, when you're flying not just when we have an alert like this,” said Beth Jones.

The Trump administration also said in a press conference on Friday that there are currently 191 Americans being investigated for the virus.