Frequently Asked Questions About the Wuhan Coronavirus

Updated 6 February 2020, 11:00 a.m. EST

ABACE organizers have compiled an FAQ with answers to common questions from ABACE exhibitors and attendees about the impact of the Wuhan Coronavirus on the event.

What is the Wuhan Coronavirus?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a new coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals; the Wuhan Coronavirus is a betacoronavirus, which have their origins in bats.

Why is it called a “Coronavirus?”

They are called “coronaviruses” because of their distinctive microscopic markings, which feature a halo, crown or “corona” around the molecule, not unlike a corona that might appear around the sun, especially after a rain shower.

Initial Wuhan Coronavirus patients were linked to a large seafood and live animal market in that city. However, a growing number of patients appear to have been exposed to the disease in a person-to-person manner unrelated to the seafood market experience.

The Wuhan Coronavirus is similar to previous viral respiratory illnesses, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Initial symptoms are flu-like and may include fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, muscle pain, lethargy, cough, sore throat and other nonspecific symptoms.

Is every illness fatal?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 20% of cases are considered to be severe and 2% have been fatal. While most patients are able to recover from coronaviruses on their own (as with the flu) severe cases may lead to shortness of breath, pneumonia and death. Patients might carry the disease for several days before they experience its symptoms.

Chinese health officials have reported thousands of Wuhan Coronavirus infections in China, with it reportedly spreading from person-to-person in many parts of that country. Most infections have been associated with travel from Wuhan and also are being reported in a growing number of international locations, including the United States.

How has China’s government responded to the situation?

As of Jan. 30, some 15 cities across China – including Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing – with a combined population of over 57 million people have been placed under full or partial lockdown. The area and population affected is roughly comparable to the US states of TX, OK, NM, AZ, CO, KS and LA. All routes in and out of Wuhan have been closed, or are highly regulated. Hong Kong has closed 10 of 13 of its China border crossing locations following the first confirmed fatality from the virus in that city; the victim reportedly had an underlying medical condition that was exacerbated by the coronavirus.

China’s Politburo Standing Committee has admitted to “shortcomings and deficiencies” in the country’s response to the coronavirus, with additional international media reports that the government initially played down the severity of the risk. Chinese President Xi Jinping has signaled a more assertive strategy going forward in dealing with the epidemic.

The country has also expedited construction of two new hospitals in Wuhan expressly for coronavirus patients, each with 1,500-bed capacity. These facilities will join an existing 1,000-bed hospital in treating patients with the virus.

China has extended the Lunar New Year holiday to February 2 in some cities, and to Feb. 9 in others, in an attempt to dissuade people from traveling and spreading the virus. Almost all mass celebrations for the festival have been canceled. Authorities have also urged people to avoid traditional large family holiday gatherings and business meetings.

What is the international impact at this time?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have joined with the World Health Organization (WHO) in declaring the Wuhan Coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. As of Feb. 6, John Hopkins University reports more than 28,350 confirmed cases worldwide, with all but 265 of those cases within China, and 565 fatalities. New cases have been confirmed in Vietnam, Taiwan, Germany and Britain.

Sixty-two countries have implemented some form of immigration control on Chinese citizens. The U.S. has announced a ban on foreign national travel for those who have been in China within the last 14 days, effective Sunday, Feb. 2. To date, 12 U.S. cases of the virus have been confirmed as of Feb. 5 across six states. Additionally, the U.S. has quarantined 195 American workers evacuated from Wuhan Jan. 29 to California’s March Air Force Base – the first such federally-imposed quarantine in 50 years – and an additional 550 Americans are expected to be flown from China to March AFB and other military bases around the country in the coming days under similar quarantine. Additionally, more than 7,300 cruise ship passengers have been quarantined, with three Americans among the 20 passengers diagnosed with coronavirus onboard the Diamond Princess, currently anchored off Yokohama, Japan after traveling to Hong Kong, Vietnam and Taiwan.

In response to the WHO declaration, many international commercial airlines announced cancellations of all scheduled flights to and from China, with others reducing service to the country. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have suspended service to China through the end of April, with most other carriers announcing suspensions through March. Air Canada is presently holding to its previously-announced suspension through the end of February. Japan’s All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines have also announced service reductions and suspensions of flights to mainland China due to the coronavirus outbreak.

China Eastern Airlines announced Feb. 3 it has suspended service to the United States, the first Chinese carrier to do so. Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific has temporarily reduced its flight capacity 30% and has suspended 90% of flights into mainland China. However, on Feb. 6 China’s Foreign Ministry stated Chinese airlines would not suspend operations to the country.

Several countries, including the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, have barred entry to all travelers who have visited China recently, with Italy and Israel stopping all incoming air traffic from the country. Many more countries have warned their citizens not to travel to mainland China. Singapore has banned entry for all new visitors to that country who have travelled through Hubei within the last 14 days, or those with Chinese passports issued in Hubei, while Italy has issued a NOTAM stating all general aviation and business aviation flights arriving from airports in China or Hong Kong must land at either LIMC/Milan Malpensa or LIRF/Rome Fiumicino as the first airport of entry, for “sanitary measures”, before proceeding on to other airports in the country.

On Jan 29, Germany published a new rule for operators traveling to that country from anywhere in China, Hong Kong or Macau, requiring them to submit the health portion of the flight’s General Declaration to authorities at the first arrival airport in Germany. All travelers must also complete a copy of their ICAO health declaration and operators must retain passenger data – including names, contacts and seat location – for at least 30 days.

The White House has formed a coronavirus task force, under the authority of US President Donald Trump and led by US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, which has met daily since Jan. 27 The task force includes members from the National Institutes of Health, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the departments of State, Transportation and Homeland Security, among others; however, the White House reiterated the risk of infection to Americans remains low.

A Chinese pharmaceutical company is reportedly attempting to patent a drug to combat the coronavirus; however, the WHO stated Feb. 4 that “no known” drug treatments exist against the virus at this time.

What are U.S. and Chinese government authorities advising about travel to China, including Shanghai?

On Jan. 31, the U.S. State Department extended its previously-issued Level 4 travel warning for the Hubei province to all of China, advising travelers to cancel travel to the country and to be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. The CDC has issued a Level 3 travel warning, its highest alert level, to “avoid non-essential travel.”

The U.S. has added Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to the list of international airports approved to accept flights from China. Arriving passengers will be screened for symptoms of coronavirus and possibly quarantined. Additionally, travelers arriving to the U.S. from other countries may face additional questioning about their recent travel.

How are the ABACE organizers staying informed about the situation, and how might this affect ABACE2020?

ABACE2020 is scheduled to take place April 21-23 in Shanghai. NBAA-ABACE China Limited, its partner, the Shanghai Airport Authority (SAA) and co-hosts – ABACE LLC and the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) – continue with plans to host this event at that time.

ABACE officials continue to engage industry and governmental partners in Shanghai and across China for the latest developments in this rapidly evolving situation. The organizers understand the reasons for concern, and have representatives available:

Dan Hubbard
Senior Vice President, Communications
[email protected]

Linda Peters
Vice President, Exhibits
[email protected]