ATLANTA — The dire situation in China continues with the latest update showing the death toll has jumped to 361 - 57 more people than was reported previously in the last 24 hours.
The number of cases is also growing with more than 17,000 - up from 14,000 on Saturday. Nine confirmed cases have been found in the U.S. alone, including one on the East Coast.
With that knowledge, the U.S. is implementing strict new measures to stop the spread of the deadly virus. Among those measures, foreign nationals who've visited any part of China in the last two weeks will not be able to enter the U.S.
And any U.S. citizen who has been to the epicenter, Wuhan, will face a mandatory 14-day quarantine at one of the newly designated military bases across the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning that even people who have been exposed and tested negative could still develop symptoms and become contagious.
Because of that, the U.S. is also streamlining the screening process for people flying into the U.S. from China. Starting on Sunday, Hartsfield-Jackson became one of seven airports across the U.S. that passengers will be funneled through.
This will allow officials to conduct more thorough health screenings.
With that decision, Delta, American Airlines and United have all suspended flights to and from China with the last inbound flight leaving China on Sunday. It's expected to arrive in Atlanta on Monday afternoon and everyone on the flight will have to go through a special screening process.
The CDC is streamlining its screening process and taking no chances when it comes to keeping the coronavirus from spreading further. Hartsfield-Jackson is now part of that process.
A spokesperson for the CDC said that although they're still not sure what the exact setup at the airport will look like, those screened will be kept in the customs area until the tests are done.
"I think it's a good thing," said traveler Eden Valencia. "I mean, keeping everybody safe and make sure, you know, it doesn't spread throughout Atlanta and - you never know, you know?"
Those screenings will look like this for passengers:
- Someone will take their temperature.
- They'll answer a questionnaire on how they feel.
- They'll be told to go home and self-quarantine.
- The state health department will follow up.
However, if a passenger does display symptoms, health officials will take them to a local hospital and quarantine will begin immediately.
"I think it's effective, you know, it's keeping everybody else safe around us as well and making sure it doesn't spread," Valencia said.
Common symptoms of coronavirus include fever, mild breathing difficulty, general body aches. However, they can also be more severe and include high fever, pneumonia, kidney failure and, in the worst cases, death.
The CDC is working to gather extra staff to help support the airports. Hartsfield-Jackson said that, out of an abundance of caution, employees throughout the airport may choose to wear protective masks. However, this is not mandatory.