Coronavirus: Trenton cancels Chinese New Year, Newark airport steps up screenings
NEWARK — While no New Jersey patients have tested positive for a coronavirus that has killed more than 100 people in 16 countries, public officials have urged extra vigilance.
Newark Liberty International Airport is being added to the list of ports of entries with stepped-up passenger screenings for the Novel Coronavirus, which has sickened more than 4,500.
New Jersey U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker had been pressing U.S. health officials to include Newark, the nation’s fifth-busiest airport, before this week's announcement by the CDC.
On Monday, Trenton cancelled its Chinese (Lunar) New Year celebration for 2020. City officials said many who had planned to take part in the event were traveling from mainland China, where health concerns have spurred travel restrictions.
"The decision came after unforeseen circumstances forced many of our performers and vendors to withdraw from the event over concerns regarding the Coronavirus," according to a statement issued by the city on its Facebook page, which also said they hope to put budgeted resources toward next year's celebration, instead.
Test results for an NJ person came backfrom the CDC as negative for Novel Coronavirus, as confirmed Tuesday by state Department of Health spokeswoman Nicole Kirgan. She added no other cases were under investigation in New Jersey.
The state Health Department also has launched a hotline people can call with questions about the illness, 1-800-222-1222.
There are 92 cases pending testing nationwide, according to the CDC Wednesday.
There are five confirmed cases of the virus in the United States — in Arizona, California, Illinois, and Washington state.
At a World Health Organization (WHO) briefing Wednesday, officials confirmed the Novel Coronavirus has infected more than 6,000 people in 16 countries around the world, including China, where the illness has killed 132 people.
For coronavirus infections, reported illnesses have ranged from people being mildly sick, with symptoms that include fever, cough and shortness of breath, to people being severely ill and dying, according to the CDC.
“As more cases of coronavirus spike across the globe, we must do everything we can to protect Americans here at home. That starts by ensuring all passengers traveling from the affected regions are properly and thoroughly screened upon arrival in the U.S.,” a joint statement from Senators Menendez and Booker said.
Both senators also said "It is only prudent that any robust and comprehensive public health response include stepped-up efforts at each of our country’s major ports of entry—including Newark Liberty International Airport."