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07 Feb 2020 | 04:21 AM UTC

Chile: Airport screenings implemented nationwide due to coronavirus outbreak February 6

Ministry of Health announces implementation of airport screenings due to novel coronavirus as of February 6; follow authority directives



The Chilean Ministry of Health has announced on Thursday, February 6, that it would implement increased airport screenings for those who have traveled to an area affected by the novel coronavirus. The authority did not specify whether this applies exclusively to those with travels to China, nor within what time frame. The official website states that, in the event that a passenger arrives with a health situation that could be compatible with Coronavirus, with symptoms such as fever above 38 degrees (Celsius, 100° F) and cough, this person will be referred to an isolated area that is already defined." The affected airports include those in Antofagasta, Valparaiso, the Santiago metropolitan region, Biobio, Araucania, and Los Lagos.

Further international spread of the 2019-nCoV virus is to be expected over the coming days and weeks.


The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in 25 countries and territories worldwide. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the ongoing novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak is a "public health emergency of international concern."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored 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.


Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. 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.