The Ministry of Health is awaiting recommendations from international health organizations regarding the recent outbreak of a deadly new coronavirus in China, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday.
However, Sands said no travel advisories pertaining to the virus for The Bahamas have been established as yet.
“Some countries in region (Americas) have direct travel links with China. Some airports in the U.S. and Canada so far have implemented screening of travelers coming from China,” Sands said.
“No travel restrictions have been recommended.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the outbreak began sometime last month in China. Since then, cases have been reported in Thailand, Japan and Korea according to WHO.
According to WHO’s Situation Report dated January 21, screening efforts of travelers are ongoing in parts of Asia in response to the outbreak.
Several people have died in Asia as a result of the illness.
International media outlets reported the first case of the virus in the United States yesterday afternoon.
“PAHO (the Pan American Health Organization) has activated its Emergency Management system,” Sands said in a social media post.
“Evidence-based training documents are being prepared as well as technical guidelines.
“The World Health Organization International Health Regulations Emergency Committee is going to convene tomorrow and its recommendations will be shared.”
According to PAHO: “Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV).
“A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.”
Some international authorities have begun comparing the new virus to SARS, another coronavirus that caused an epidemic in 2003.