How airports are dealing with coronavirus

Passengers at Houston airports continue traveling in large numbers while coronavirus spreads worldwide.

On Friday, we met travelers arriving at the international terminal at Bush Intercontinental Airport from Qatar, Costa Rica, and India. Every passenger we met seemed to understand the risk associated with coronavirus. However, so far zero people in the Houston area have tested positive for the virus.

“It’s a little scary,” said Samarenbra Biswan, a traveler arriving from India. “We are just keeping all of the protection. Whatever guidelines they give us we are following.”

While some passengers were seen wearing gloves and masks Friday evening, others didn’t seem worried about the virus. While no one has died in the United States from coronavirus so far, the flu has killed thousands just this year.

“A lot of people in this room have masks on,” said one traveler. “It is high risk.”

“Never touch the handrails, never touch the doors,” said a second traveler. “Don’t touch anything.”

A spokesperson from the Houston Airport system provided the written statement below regarding coronavirus.

“There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Houston,” said Augusto Bernal, a spokesperson from the Houston Airport System. “All flights from China to Houston were suspended February 2nd. Federal agencies so far have seen no need for passengers at Bush and Hobby Airports to be screened for signs of the COVID-19. If and when the CDC decides to perform enhanced health screenings in Houston, Houston Airports would support them and accommodate their needs to the best of our ability.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people should avoid touching their face and should wash their hands to prevent getting the virus.

In a small sample size on Friday, we wanted to see how many people were washing their hands. Of the six people we took note of leaving an IAH bathroom, two didn’t put their hands underneath a sink.

“The Houston Health Department, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas Department of State Health Services and other public health officials, continue to monitor the outbreak,” said Bernal. “The Houston Airport System stands ready with our partners to ensure our community is protected through protocols that already exist at Houston’s international arrivals terminals. We are closely monitoring the latest developments and will post updates on and our social media channels.”

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