HOUSTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will use quarantine stations, including one in Houston, to screen passengers coming from China.
The CDC’s goal is to control the spread of the deadly Coronavirus.
U.S. Quarantine Stations are part of a comprehensive system that serves to limit the introduction and spread of contagious diseases in the United States. They are located at 20 ports of entry and land-border crossings where most international travelers arrive.
Houston's is located at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
They are staffed with medical and public health officers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and managed by CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine. These health officers decide whether ill persons can enter the United States and what measures should be taken to prevent the spread of contagious diseases.
China has agreed to allow international health experts to work with the Chinese government.
The U.S. said it is delighted to hear that and hopes the CDC is part of that group.
At the moment there are no travel restrictions to and from China, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it is important not to take anything off the table.
United suspends some flights between U.S., China
However, United Airlines on Tuesday announced they are suspending some flights between China and the U.S. due to "significant decline in demand."
"Due to a significant decline in demand for travel to China, we are suspending some flights between our hub cities and Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai beginning Feb. 1 through Feb. 8," the airline wrote in a statement. "We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops and will adjust our schedule as needed."
The airline said it is still operating flights between the U.S. and China to enable customers to continue to travel between the two countries.
There are five confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in the U.S.
At Bush Airport, after more than 13 hours of flying, travelers returning from Beijing are happy to be back in the U.S.
“We stayed home and the restaurants and in the street there was few people there," said Chiachi Lu.
Passengers like Steven Song said the threat of catching the Coronavirus is on the minds of everyone.
“They have you filled the form, your temperature, where you’ve been before so this is very seriously,” Song said.
According to the CDC, China has reported more than 4,500 cases of people infected with the Coronavirus. It has resulted in more than 100 deaths.
Here in the U.S., the state department has issued travel advisories for all of China.
“This higher level of alert means that Americans should reconsider or postpone travel to any part of China,” a health official said.
IAH is now one of 20 quarantine stations where the CDC will perform enhanced screenings of passengers returning from China.
“That’s what we’re going to be doing here,” A CDC official said. “Identifying ill travelers returning from China so that we can make sure that they’re appropriately treated so that they don’t pass on this illness to others.”
They said it’s also an opportunity to educate those travelers on the Coronavirus and what symptoms to look for.
“Americans should know that this is a potentially very serious public health threat but at this point Americans should not worry for their own safety,” the CDC said.
Health officials said the enhanced screenings are part of a layered approach to keep everyone safe.
It’s a move travelers like Song appreciate.
“Of course, from China the customer from China they should be have,” he said.
Health officials want to encourage people to practice good hygiene.
China has agreed to allow international health experts to work with Chinese officials to help gain control of the virus. The U.S. hopes to be a part of that.
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