Middle East and North African countries introduce health screenings for passengers from China as of Jan. 23. Immigration delays possible.

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 29 Jan 2020 18:01 GMT and is scheduled to expire 29 Jan 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Increased health screenings
  • Location(s): Middle East and North Africa (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite as of Jan. 23
  • Impact: Longer immigration wait times for passengers from China; possible quarantine

Summary
Several countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa region, including Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Qatar, Syria, and Lebanon, have implemented enhanced health screenings for passengers from China. The precaution follows an increase in reported cases of 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan and other eastern Chinese cities. Chinese authorities have confirmed person to person transmission of the virus. Emirati authorities confirmed on Jan. 29 the first case of the virus in the Middle East region.

Additional countries could announce enhanced health screenings or expand their response in the coming days, particularly as the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak is occurring ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, when tens of millions of Chinese passengers travel throughout the world. The measures are unlikely to impact most travelers but may lead to immigration delays, especially for passengers from China.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings, especially if traveling from China.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.