On Wednesday, January 22, media reports indicate that the North Korean government will close borders to foreign tourists in response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan (Hubei province) in China. Although no case of the virus has been recorded in the country, sources claim that the measure should remain in place until a vaccine is fully developed. It remains unclear whether the North Korean government will make an official announcement on the matter.
As of January 22, cases of the virus have been confirmed in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and the US, and suspected cases have been reported in Singapore and Australia. The Wuhan coronavirus has killed nine people and infected 440 others across China.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Individuals who plan to travel to or have recently returned from China, particularly Hubei province, are advised to monitor the situation and anticipate additional security checks at the airport. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:
• Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
• Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
• Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask
• Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly • Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments
• Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease .