The outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV (coronavirus), is of serious concern to the Office of Polar Programs, which supports thousands of researchers, operational personnel, and other visitors to remote stations in the Arctic and Antarctica. As an immediate response, OPP augmented medical screening questions for personnel deploying to Antarctica and Greenland. Medical program staff evaluate responses to a set of diagnostic questions and check for fever. These measures are intended to prevent anyone exposed to coronavirus, Ebola, or other serious respiratory infection from traveling to field stations in the polar regions.
Please consult the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html) and other health organizations to learn more about coronavirus. The CDC recommends the following measures to prevent the spread of this and other respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.