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COVID-19: CDC Updates Coronavirus Warning on Non-Essential Travel

  • Published
  • 25 February 2020
  • Category
  • News

In a Travelers’ Health Update, public health officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend avoiding non-essential travel to mainland China and South Korea to help prevent exposure to and spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). The Level-3 warning does not include Hong Kong, Macau or the island of Taiwan.

Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions are advised to consider postponing non-essential travel to Iran, Italy and Japan. Officials also recommend reconsidering cruise ship travel to or within Asia. Several other countries have apparent community spread, including some people with the virus who are not aware of an exposure source.

The COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly and being closely monitored worldwide. Travelers are advised to check the CDC website for updates.

Face Masks

The CDC does not currently recommend that the general public or travelers wear face masks or respirators to help prevent spread novel coronavirus if they are healthy. Although face masks are commonly worn in many countries, there is little evidence to support their use in community settings. People sick with respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing) can consider wearing a face mask to help prevent the spread of germs. This is especially important if seeking care in a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office.

However, the use of face masks is crucial for healthcare personnel and anyone else who is taking care of someone in a close setting (at home or in a health care facility), health officials say.

Other Preventative Measures

Preventive actions to help slow the spread of any type of respiratory illnesses include:

  • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Not traveling or going to work when sick.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throwing the tissue away.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

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