A newly identified coronavirus has killed 17 people and infected upwards of 550 more from China and at least five other countries, prompting the World Health Organization to consider whether to label its spread as an international emergency.
As there are no direct flights from its point of origin in Wuhan, China, Guam is considered at low risk at this time.
In response to news of the virus, the Department of Public Health and Social Services has directed physicians to alert the agency of any patients experiencing respiratory illness who have traveled from Wuhan City, within the past two weeks as the disease can be spread from person to person.
This outbreak comes as millions prepare to travel for Chinese New Year, which is one of the largest annual human migrations in the world.
With some health experts worried that the surge in travel could promote the spread of the virus, Guam Visitors Bureau President Pilar Laguana says that the agency is monitoring for any alerts regarding the Wuhan coronavirus.
“So far, we have not received any travel advisories. We are of the understanding that there is a notification going out to the physicians and the clinics here on Guam, but there is no travel advisory alerts,” Laguana said.
Cases of the coronavirus have emerged in the U.S., South Korea, and Japan with suspected cases in Singapore and the Philippines.