BISMARCK -- Travelers returning from some of the countries fighting the most cases of the coronavirus should self-quarantine for two weeks, North Dakota health officials say.

Those who have traveled to countries with level 2 or level 3 travel warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should limit their exposure to others upon arrival back home, the North Dakota Department of Health said in a Wednesday, March 4, news release.

Those countries currently include China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan. Those countries are home to thousands of cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus that emerged in China late last year and has sickened tens of thousands and killed over 3,000, mostly in China. The disease has since spread to dozens of countries, including the United States, which has over 150 confirmed cases and 12 deaths.

“It takes a community effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are asking people traveling from countries under level 3 or 2 travel warnings to voluntarily comply with community control measures,” said Kirby Kruger, director of the Division of Disease Control at the North Dakota Department of Health, in the news release. “Travelers should consult with the CDC travel page to get the most up to date information on travel advisories to determine what level of action they need to take.”

North Dakota has yet to deal with anyone suspected of catching the coronavirus and there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state. Officials are monitoring two individuals who are self-quarantined.

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North Dakota officials said this week the state's public health laboratory now has the ability to test for the coronavirus. They also announced travelers coming from any country facing a coronavirus outbreak should self-register on the state Department of Health's website, at www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus, and click on the “Traveled Internationally in the past 14 days?” button.

“When travelers submit the form, they will automatically receive information and guidance about COVID-19 and how to monitor their own health and protect their communities,” said Kruger.

  • Level 3 travel warnings (currently China, Iran, Italy and South Korea): Travelers to these countries should not go into work, attend school or other gatherings. They should also monitor themselves for fever and other symptoms of the coronavirus;
  • Level 2 travel warnings (currently Japan): Travelers to countries with level 2 warnings should monitor themselves for fever and other symptoms, avoid public places and limit interactions with others for 14 days. The individuals do not need to stay home from work or school, the Department of Health said.

Coronavirus information