LOS ANGELES - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning on its Instagram page urging international travelers to avoid countries with a Level 3 travel health notice and to reconsider embarking on any cruise ships that are heading to or traveling within Asia.
Fears surrounding the virus continue to mount after the United States reported its ninth death from COVID-19. The global count of those infected crossed the 90,000 threshold, with 3,100 reported dead around the world.
While the vast majority of cases have occurred in China, world governments and health officials are bracing for not if, but when the spread of the disease will reach their communities.
According to the CDC, countries with a Level 3 travel health notice include:
- South Korea
Currently, Japan is at a Level 2 Travel Health Notice, while Hong Kong is at Level 1.
A handful of companies are either outright restricting their employees from travel to countries impacted by the virus, or implementing guidelines to prevent any potential outbreaks.
On Sunday, Twitter tightened its guidance for employees on travel, but it was not an outright ban. The tech company announced on Monday that it was "strongly encouraging all employees globally to work from home if they're able."
Ford Motor Co. has banned all corporate air travel with few exceptions due to the coronavirus outbreak. In a memo to employees Tuesday, CEO Jim Hackett said the ban would last through March 27 and would be reviewed weekly.
Members of staff of the Center for Disease Control in Hanoi spray disinfectant inside a plane at Noi Bai International Airport amid the outbreak of Covid-19 (coronavirus). (Photo by Bac Pham/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Risk of contracting the virus on an airplane
Regardless of the CDC’s warning for travel to countries most impacted by the virus, the organization is assuring people that it’s not as easy as you think to be infected on an airplane, at least through the vents.
“Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on airplanes,” according to the CDC.
However, avoiding contact with sick passengers, frequently washing hands with soap and keeping hand sanitizer close by is highly recommended.
Try to avoid cruises all together
During a viral outbreak, cruises can be a breeding ground for new potential cases.
“Cruises put large numbers of people, often from countries around the world, in frequent and close contact with each other,” writes the CDC.
If you do develop a fever, it is crucial that you inform on-board medical personnel immediately, and stay in your cabin to limit contact with people in order to avoid further spread of the virus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.