Amid the growing fear and rapid spread of the coronavirus, nearly 40 airlines worldwide have cut about 25,000 flights to, from or within China compared with two weeks ago. Last week more than 500 flights a month between the U.S. and China have been suspended, despite urging by the World Health Organization against travel and trade restrictions because of the virus outbreak that started in China, Also, there are concerns Coronavirus travel regulations could affect work at the Ports of LA and Long Beach. According to U.S. Representative Mark Takano, last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s laboratory test kit to detect 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) began shipping to select, qualified U.S. and international laboratories. Distribution of the tests will help improve the global capacity to detect and respond to the coronavirus. The test kit is designed for use with an existing RT-PCR testing instrument that is commonly used to test for seasonal influenza. As of Thursday, February 6, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf directed all flights from China (and all passengers who have traveled to China in the last 14 days) to the U.S. be routed through eleven airports, including Los Angeles International Airport, where the Federal Government has established enhanced health screenings with the ability to impose a quarantine if needed. Also last week the publication Wired reported on Coronavirus related phishing scams claiming to provide information about the Wuhan coronavirus. As reported, a sample phishing email detected by the security firm Mimecast showed the attackers disseminating malicious links and PDFs that claim to contain information on how to protect yourself from the spread of the disease. “Go through the attached document on safety measures regarding the spreading of corona virus, “the message which purports to come from a virologist reads, “This little measure can save you.” There is also concern over racists sentiments targeting Asians as a result of fear triggered by the coronavirus. The LA Time reported as public health fears have grown, so have xenophobic and anti-China sentiments. Such sentiments are like the kinds of discrimination that occurred in 2003 during the outbreak of SARS (severe acute respirator syndrome).
Header Photo: A flight from China landing at MAFB.