As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout China and into the rest of the world, governments and businesses are taking measures to contain the disease. Thus far more than 80 people have succumbed to the virus in China, while nearly 3,000 have been infected around the world.
In the United States, five cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, all of them in California. The National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said yesterday that it has 110 “patients under investigation.”
“We understand that many people in the United States are worried about this virus and how it will affect Americans,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier said. “Every day we learn more, every day we assess to see if our guidance or our response can be improved.”
Messonnier explained that the Centers for Disease Control is expanding its screening process for travelers who could have contracted the disease. It has already screened around 2,500 people who flew to US airports from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus originated.
“This outbreak is unfolding rapidly and we are rapidly looking at how that impacts our posture at the border,” Messonnier said. “We’re certainly considering broadening of that screening.”
Delta Airlines issued a travel waiver allowing people to change their itinerary free of cost.
“Travelers with Wuhan in their journey are being screened by the CDC upon arrival to New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago-O’Hare and Los Angeles, in addition to screenings in China,” the US company said in a statement. “Other U.S. airports are also reportedly screening passengers who have Wuhan as part of their travel journey.”
Travel companies in Europe are canceling trips to China. German company Studiosus, which organizes vacations to China, is suspending all travel to the Asian country until mid April. Another German company, DER Touristik, is doing the same until the end of March, while English travel agency Trailfinders has canceled all bookings to China until the end of April.
The Shanghai Disney Resort is closed indefinitely; the Disneyland Park in Hong Kong will also be closed until further notice. Companies in Shanghai, which have been closed for the Lunar New Year, have been ordered by the government to remain shuttered until at least 3 February. Typically they would reopen 31 January.
Carnival Cruises has canceled nine cruises, while Royal Caribbean has canceled two.
Stocks in Asia and Europe are taking a significant hit, reflecting investors’ concerns about the effect the coronavirus is going to have on the global economy.