Guam takes steps to quarantine US citizens

OUTBOUND: Most of the people flying out of Guam on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, were wearing face masks at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport in Tiyan. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

Foreign citizens who were in the People's Republic of China in the 14 days before their arrival will be denied entry into the U.S. and U.S. citizens will be allowed entry but will be quarantined for 14 days, the governor's office announced on Saturday. 

The announcement follows the White House's declaration of a public health emergency over the novel coronavirus outbreak. The White House suspended entry to non-U.S..citizens who were within the People's Republic of China within 14 days of their arrival. 

U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and family members of U.S. citizens will be allowed entry, but will require a 14-day quarantine. The federal government hasn't said how or where they’d be quarantined, according to the governor's office. 

GovGuam is preparing to implement a quarantine. 

“We are in constant communication with federal public health officials and our White House counterparts. We are prepared to execute all official advisories once they are issued, and we will advise the public accordingly,” said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero. “We have planned for these circumstances and we are ready to implement our plan and keep Guam safe."

Although no cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have been reported on Guam or the Mariana Islands to date, the Department of Public Health and Social Services and other emergency management agencies are preparing for its arrival. DPHSS continues to follow guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as it prepares its response, updating any plans or procedures as CDC guidelines change. 

What you can do

“While GovGuam works with our federal partners to prevent, and prepare for, the introduction of coronavirus, everyone on Guam can take simple actions now to stop the spread of respiratory illnesses like the flu and coronavirus by practicing good hygiene and staying home if you’re ill,” Public Health Director Linda DeNorcey said.

Residents are urged to follow these guidelines:

• If you’re sick, stay at home. Don’t go to school or work.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• When you cough, cover your mouth with a tissue, throw the tissue away, and then wash your hands.

• If you don’t have a tissue, cover your mouth with your sleeve.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

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