Health officials in hazmat suits check body temperatures of passengers arriving from the city of Wuhan, China. - Photo: AP

Cayman’s National Security Council will meet early next week to consider the implementation of travel restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Health Minister Dwyane Seymour made the announcement in the Legislative Assembly Friday.

He said local health-care providers have already been put on alert for the virus which has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization.

“The National Security Council will be meeting early next week and will consider whether travel restrictions may be in the national interest and any further actions deemed necessary,” Seymour told lawmakers.

Since the declaration of the global health emergency a number of countries have announced travel restrictions on China. US Airlines, Delta, American Airlines and United have suspended flights to China.

Seymour said Public Health held a multi-sectoral meeting on the virus on Wednesday, which included Customs and Border Control, the Port Authority and Health Services Authority staff.

He said a number of measures will be implemented, including distribution of face masks at the entrance of clinics for patients exhibiting respiratory symptoms to use, as well as monitoring of passengers with travel history to the countries affected by the virus.

“Customs and Border Control officers have already been screening all arriving passengers for travel history to China who will be notified to Public Health. Public Health will then monitor these people for incubation period and support their health care needs as necessary,” Seymour said.

The WHO issued the global emergency alert Thursday after the virus, first found in China, was reported in 18 other countries and the number of cases spiked tenfold in a week.

The UN health agency defines an international emergency as an “extraordinary event” that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response.

To date, China has reported more than 7,800 cases, including 170 deaths.

Read the full story in Monday’s paper.