022520 – COVID-19

The official sources: CDC, WHO, ECDC and ISOS provide updates and recommendations on the COVID-19.

This post provides general guidance for UT Dallas travelers. Additionally, please review the recent information UT Dallas has shared with the campus.  The situation continues to develop, please go to the direct sources listed and linked on this post for the most up-to-date information.  The information in this report may change without prior notice.

General updates

The new coronavirus which was first identified in the central city Wuhan, has spread to other cities in China, and many other countries.  The geographical distribution and number of cases can be seen more clearly at this real time map by John Hopkins University, WHO’s real time map, and this ECDC webpage.

Coronaviruses are a large family of respiratory viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to the Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

  • WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
  • The CDC has issued the following travel notices:
    • Warning Level 3: Avoid non-essential travel for China and South Korea,
    • Alert Level 2: Practice Enhanced Precautions for Iran, Italy, and Japan. These destinations are experiencing sustained community transmission of respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The virus can spread from person to person. Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel.
    • Alert Level 1: Practice usual precautions. Hong Kong, CDC at this point does not recommend canceling or postponing travel. Travelers should practice usual precautions.
    • Destinations with apparent community spread, but that do not yet meet the criteria for an alert. Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
  • The U.S. Department of State has updated the following advisories specifically due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The CDC is recommending travelers to reconsider cruise ship voyages to or within Asia.

In an effort to contain the novel coronavirus, the Chinese authorities suspended air, road, and rail travel in the area around Wuhan and placed restrictions on travel and other activities throughout the country. Travelers should be aware that the Chinese government could prevent them from entering or exiting affected areas.

Airlines have temporarily reduced or suspended flights to and from China, and surrounding countries have placed border / entry restrictions with China.  As numbers increase outside of China, some countries have implemented entry restrictions and health screenings for people who have visited or passed through affected countries.  Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions and health screenings to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.

WHO’s Q&A on coronaviruses and WHO’s myth busters answer 2019-nCoV questions such as: What is a coronavirus? Can 2019-nCOV be caught from a person who presents no symptoms? What can I do to protect myself?

The CDC explains what is the COVID-19, how it spreads, its symptoms, prevention and treatment, what to do if you’re sick, and has answers to frequently asked questions.

Recommendations for travelers

  • Heed the directives of public health authorities.
  • Avoid people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Carry hand sanitizer for use when soap and water are not readily available.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Do not visit wet markets or farms.
  • Avoid direct contact with animals (live or dead) and their environment. Do not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with droppings.
  • Ensure food, including eggs, is thoroughly cooked.
  • Maintain flexible itineraries accounting for additional time required for health and temperature screening at airports, railway stations, docks and long-haul bus stations. Arrive early at transport hubs.
  • Monitor the latest information on the virus, as well as any quarantine and isolation procedures being implemented at both your origin and your destination.
  • Seek medical attention if you develop symptoms, especially fever or shortness of breath.
  • Do not travel if you are sick. Note that some locations have implemented screening, and travelers may face quarantine and testing.
  • Older travelers and those with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to affected areas with their healthcare provider.

If within the last month you

  • were in an area affected by COVID-19, or
  • been in close contact with someone who within the last month has been affected by COVID-19, or been in a COVID-19 affected area,

and you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away.  Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about the noted travel history or contact and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

The risk information in this post is retrieved from sources as listed in the post. It provides general guidance for UT Dallas travelers. Please note the published date of this post, and go to the direct sources listed in the post for the most up-to-date information.  The information in this post may change without prior notice.