Trinidad & Tobago Bans Travelers From China

French citizens arrive and settle aboard of an evacuation plane with destination southeastern France, before departure from Wuhan Airport (WUH), China, on the night between January 30, 2020 and January 31, 2020, as they were repatriated from the coronavirus hot zone. (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)
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By Linda and Hutchinson-Jafar


PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Fri. Jan. 31, 2020 (Reuters) – Trinidad and Tobago has imposed 14-day restrictions on travelers from China to prevent the spread of a new strain of coronavirus on the Caribbean island nation, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said on Thursday.

The newly identified China coronavirus has created alarm because it is spreading quickly and there are still important unknowns surrounding it. The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday declared the outbreak, that has killed 170 people in China, a global emergency as cases spread to 18 countries.

“Persons who are presently living in China or visiting China, regardless of your nationality, will not be allowed to enter Trinidad and Tobago for 14 days after leaving China,” Deyalsingh told reporters.

“If you left China tomorrow on (Feb. 1), you will not be allowed into Trinidad and Tobago until Feb. 14, regardless of nationality,” he said.

The virus has an incubation of up to 14 days, and there are some limited signs it may also be able to spread before any symptoms show. Like other respiratory infections, it spreads between people in droplets from coughs and sneezes.

It is still too early to know what its death rate will be, since there are likely to be many cases of milder disease going undetected.

(Reporting by Linda Hutchinson-Jafar in Port of Spain, Trinidad; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Drazen Jorgic and Marguerita Choy)