On Thursday, January 22, the Panamanian government announced it is implementing temperature screenings at airports nationwide and at other points of entry. The decision comes amid the ongoing Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
Further spread of the illness is possible over the near term, particularly during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.
As of January 22, cases of the virus have been confirmed in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the US, and suspected cases have been reported in Singapore and Australia. The Wuhan coronavirus has killed 17 people and infected 571 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.