CIEE Health Alert – China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States

Wed, 01/22/2020

There is an ongoing outbreak of a novel (new) coronavirus which began in Wuhan, China in December 2019.  There are at least 540 confirmed cases of the virus, a majority of which are in Hubei province, China. Emerging reports indicate that 17 deaths have occurred in China. Local officials are concerned that the virus may spread as people travel in China in advance of the Lunar New Year's Day, which falls on 25 January.  Additional cases of the virus have also been detected in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States according to media reports.  One individual is under observation in Tamaulipas, Mexico as a possible case of the virus.  Hong Kong also has a suspected case, but these are both unconfirmed at this time.  As attention grows, we anticipate that there will be many such reports moving forward.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called a 22 January meeting to determine whether to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).  Enhanced screening measures have been instituted at major transportation hubs both in China and internationally, particularly for travelers from Wuhan, China.  Symptoms of the virus include cough, fever and respiratory difficulties. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated “Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear how easily the virus spreads between people” in a new health alert that was posted for China, raising the CDC health alert status level from 1 to 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions).   CDC advises those travelers to Wuhan to avoid sick people, practice sanitation and hygiene measures and seek medical attention if sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing. 

CIEE has no reports of any students or staff being impacted by this virus.  Wuhan, China is a considerable distance from any of our Centers in China, and none of our Centers worldwide have reported any health impacts.  CIEE Participants are advised to closely monitor the latest developments, as the situation remains fluid.  Participants are also advised to adhere to all national and international public health directives and those exhibiting symptoms of the virus are advised to seek immediate medical attention.