HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Health Department is urging residents to delay or cancel all travel to China amid growing fears of a deadly virus.
“We are advising people not to travel to China at this time,” said state Health Director Bruce Anderson, in a news release.
“Various areas in China have been placed under quarantine by the Chinese government, and travel within the country is either completely prohibited or significantly curtailed to prevent the spread of this disease.”
There have been no cases of the coronavirus in Hawaii, health officials confirmed Wednesday.
But the number of cases in China continues to swell.
So far, there have been more than 7,700 cases of the disease in China and at least 17 countries. Authorities have also reported 170 deaths, all in China.
In the U.S., there have been five confirmed cases ― all in people who had traveled to China.
On Tuesday, the CDC passenger screenings for the disease from five airports to 20, including Honolulu’s airport.
Despite the growing concern, state officials say the risk of getting the disease in Hawaii remains low.
“The Hawaii Department of Health is working closely with our emergency response network to put proactive measures in place to protect our residents and visitors,” Anderson said.
“Because Hawaii is a major travel destination, planning and preparing for possible outbreaks is an ongoing activity. The emergence of the 2019 coronavirus in Wuhan and its potential to spread to areas outside of China poses an increased threat to travelers and Hawaii residents and we’ve ramped up our efforts.”
People who have become sick after travel to China are being advised to:
- Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Stay home. Except for seeking medical care, avoid contact with others.
- Do not travel while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands often with clean soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
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This story will be updated.