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

Severity: Informational Alert

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This alert began 23 Jan 2020 16:16 GMT and is scheduled to expire 23 Jan 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Several countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa region, including Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Bahrain, 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, as well as confirmed cases in Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. Beijing has also confirmed person to person transmission of the virus.

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.

Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings, especially if traveling from China. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with 2019 novel coronavirus, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

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.