Precautionary health screenings likely to increase at airports in Europe and Central Asia from Jan. 30. Immigration delays possible.

Severity: Informational Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • London, England
  • Paris
  • Amsterdam
  • Moscow, Moscow Oblast'
  • Rome
  • Brussels
  • Madrid
  • Berlin
  • Prague
  • Copenhagen
  • Helsinki
  • Oslo
  • Stockholm
  • Kyiv, Kyivska Oblast'
  • Nur-Sultan

This alert began 30 Jan 2020 13:59 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Jan 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Airport health screenings
  • Location(s): International airports in Europe and Central Asia (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite as of Jan. 30
  • Impact: Extended immigration times possible

Summary
Authorities are likely to increase health screenings airports across Europe and Central Asia from Jan. 30 to help contain the spread of 2019 novel coronavirus. The EU announced Jan. 29 that it is preparing to tighten entry criteria for Chinese nationals and travelers arriving from China, and has activated a procedure to assist member states in improving preparations to prevent the impact of international health threats and other crises.

Several major airports, including London Heathrow (LHR), Milan Malpensa (MXP), Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG), and Rome Fiumicino (FCO), have already introduced additional health measures, varying from the deployment of specialist health teams to react to suspected cases of the virus to routine screening of passengers arriving from China. The EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has recommended that airlines provide protection equipment to aircrew flying to and from countries where authorities have identified the virus.

Stricter health screenings are likely in airports around Europe and Central Asia in the coming days and are likely to affect travelers from international destinations, especially those coming from China. In many cases, such measures will include thermal screening cameras, which indicate whether passengers are suffering from fevers consistent with 2019 novel coronavirus and other health conditions. The cameras allow rapid mass screenings of passenger skin temperatures and are unlikely to lead to excessive disruptions; nevertheless, additional precautionary measures could prompt some delays at security and immigration, particularly for passengers arriving from affected areas.

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