With the novel coronavirus outbreak spreading by the day, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will add manpower at Newark Liberty International Airport.
The increased staffing in Newark is part of the agency’s upgrade at all 20 of CDC’s quarantine stations to conduct the screenings in the effort to prevent the spread of the disease. Travelers originating from China will be screened for the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 100 people and sickened more than 4,500 worldwide.
U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker had both been pressing U.S. health officials to include Newark, the nation’s fifth busiest airport, to be added. Previously, screening for the virus had been taking place at just selected airports.
Senators Welcome Change
“We are pleased that the CDC has answered our repeated requests and included Newark Liberty in the agency’s response plan,” according to a press release from both senators.
The senators stated as more cases of coronavirus spike across the globe, everything must be done to protect Americans at home.
“That starts by ensuring all passengers traveling from the affected regions are properly and thoroughly screened upon arrival in the U.S. It is only prudent that any robust and comprehensive public health response include stepped-up efforts at each of our country’s major ports of entry—including Newark Liberty International Airport,” according to Booker and Menendez.
New Jersey has set up a 24-hour hotline for information on the disease (800-222-1222), at the state’s poison control center. The CDC upgraded its travel advisory, warning Americans to avoid non-essential trips to China and currently advises doctors to raise a red flag only if a suspected patient has been in contact with someone traveling from China.
The agency stressed the risk remains low in the U.S., as the five people who tested positive for the disease all were passengers arriving from China. “Right now there is no spread of this virus in our communities here at home,” said Robert Redfield, the CDC’s director. “This is why our current assessment is the immediate health risk to the public is low in our nation.
Besides the five confirmed cases in California, Arizona, Illinois and Washington State, the agency has logged 32 negative tests, with 73 more test results pending on samples taken in 26 states, including New Jersey. The state’s one completed test came back negative.