About 200 travelers returning to the Peach State from China are self-monitoring for symptoms of the novel coronavirus, according to officials with the Georgia Department of Public Health.

“These travelers arrived in the U.S. from mainland China outside Hubei Province with no known high-risk exposure,” a news release from the department states. “These individuals are asymptomatic ... and are self-isolating at home.”

The respiratory virus was first reported in Wuhan, China on Dec. 31, according to the World Health Organization. Wuhan is in the Hubei province of China.

The state’s public health department receives a daily list from Customs and Border Protection, including the names of Georgia travelers coming from China, the news release states.

The state’s epidemiologists contact the individuals by phone to establish a plan for self-monitoring and provide instructions on how to contact the health department before seeking health care if they develop fever, cough or shortness of breath, officials say.

So far, the public health department reports there are no Georgia travelers who have returned from Wuhan or Hubei Province requiring quarantine.

President Donald Trump issued a federal proclamation on Jan. 31 intended to slow the potential spread of the illness to the United States. The proclamation included a travel ban for non-U.S. citizens entering the country from China and funneled flights from China to one of 11 airports in the U.S., including Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.

State health officials say the proclamation also requires mandatory two-week quarantine for returning travelers who have been in the Hubei Province, as well as two weeks of supervised self-monitoring for returning travelers from anywhere else in China.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the overall risk of coronavirus to the general public is low, but these tips can help prevent infection of any respiratory virus or other illness:

♦ Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

♦ Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

♦ Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

♦ Stay home when you are sick.

♦ Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash.

♦ Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

♦ Get a flu vaccination.

For more information about coronavirus, visit dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Guidance for travelers can be found at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/novel-coronavirus-china.

A note to our readers

In these troubling times when we are all dealing with the coronavirus, local news is more valuable than ever. We have made the decision to give our readers free access during this crisis, but we ask that you would voluntarily support local journalism by signing up for a digital subscription. Your subscription will allow you to keep seeing our valuable local coverage even after we have weathered this storm.

Follow Thomas Hartwell on Twitter at twitter.com/MDJThomas.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.