Miami treats coronavirus outbreak as ‘hurricane threat’ ahead of Spring Break

Coronavirus fears are crippling Spring Break plans as universities across the country cancel study abroad programs and Florida officials say they’re treating the global outbreak as a ‘hurricane threat’ ahead of an influx of visitors this month. 

Schools including Syracuse, Florida International University and New York University have cancelled study abroad programs in Asia as well as northern Italy amid the coronavirus outbreak.  

Some schools who have cancelled programs and called back students include Elon, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield University, the University of Georgia, Villanova, Gonzaga, University of Colorado Boulder, New York University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Auburn University and the University of Tennessee. 

Several schools are also encouraging students who are traveling for spring break in general to take extra safety precautions.  

All the while Florida is bracing for an the wave of annual Spring Break revelers to touch down in the sunshine state.    

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is treating the virus as a potential emergency.

‘I liken this to a hurricane threat,’ Gimenez said said at a press conference Thursday.  

Coronavirus fears have led universities across the country cancel study abroad programs in Asia and northern Italy. Young travelers pictured wearing protective masks against the coronavirus at a railway station in Florence, Italy

Coronavirus fears have led universities across the country cancel study abroad programs in Asia and northern Italy. Young travelers pictured wearing protective masks against the coronavirus at a railway station in Florence, Italy

Coronavirus fears have led universities across the country cancel study abroad programs in Asia and northern Italy. Young travelers pictured wearing protective masks against the coronavirus at a railway station in Florence, Italy 

Schools including Syracuse, Florida International University and New York University have cancelled study abroad programs in Asia as well as northern Italy. A tourist pictured with a protective mask in Florence on Tuesday

Schools including Syracuse, Florida International University and New York University have cancelled study abroad programs in Asia as well as northern Italy. A tourist pictured with a protective mask in Florence on Tuesday

Schools including Syracuse, Florida International University and New York University have cancelled study abroad programs in Asia as well as northern Italy. A tourist pictured with a protective mask in Florence on Tuesday

As of Sunday afternoon there were 73 cases of coronavirus reported in the US. So far there have been no cases reported in Florida

As of Sunday afternoon there were 73 cases of coronavirus reported in the US. So far there have been no cases reported in Florida

As of Sunday afternoon there were 73 cases of coronavirus reported in the US. So far there have been no cases reported in Florida

As of Sunday afternoon there are 88,251  global cases and 3,000 deaths due to coronavirus

As of Sunday afternoon there are 88,251  global cases and 3,000 deaths due to coronavirus

As of Sunday afternoon there are 88,251  global cases and 3,000 deaths due to coronavirus

The coronavirus, which started in Wuhan, China and has since led to 88,251 global cases and 3,000 deaths, and has 73 confirmed cases in the US as of Sunday afternoon. 

As of Sunday the coronavirus is yet to be confirmed in Florida but 173 people are under public health monitoring for the virus that started in China and has since criss-crossed across the globe.  

So far in Florida 15 people have tested negative for COVID-19 and five results are pending, according to the Miami Herald.   

Giminez is urging the public and residents to follow basic flu-season protocols including frequently washing hands, using hand sanitizer and not reporting to work if ill. 

‘We want to remind people to wash their hands regularly. Use hand sanitizer. Cover their face with an arm,’ Gimenez said in regard to public sneezing and coughing. ‘A nod is better than a handshake or a kiss.’ 

Gimenez said he has met with a strong of county and government entities including the school system, PortMiami and the Miami International Airport to assess how the city will respond to the fast-spreading disease in light of spring break travel. 

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he is treating the coronavirus outbreak like a 'hurricane threat' in Miami as Florida braces for an influx of Spring Break travelers this month

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he is treating the coronavirus outbreak like a 'hurricane threat' in Miami as Florida braces for an influx of Spring Break travelers this month

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he is treating the coronavirus outbreak like a ‘hurricane threat’ in Miami as Florida braces for an influx of Spring Break travelers this month

He shared this tweet Friday reiterating that Florida has no confirmed cases of the virus

He shared this tweet Friday reiterating that Florida has no confirmed cases of the virus

He shared this tweet Friday reiterating that Florida has no confirmed cases of the virus

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez says Florida will amp of safety measures as thousands will flock to the state for Spring Break festivities. Spring breakers pictured on Miami Beach, Florida last year

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez says Florida will amp of safety measures as thousands will flock to the state for Spring Break festivities. Spring breakers pictured on Miami Beach, Florida last year

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez says Florida will amp of safety measures as thousands will flock to the state for Spring Break festivities. Spring breakers pictured on Miami Beach, Florida last year

'We haven’t come up with any specific recommendations yet. Those are things we’re going to be discussing in the next week. Are there any precautions, is there anything different, we’re going to do with spring break or with Ultra,' Gimenez said Thursday. Spring breakers in South Beach, Miami pictured last year

'We haven’t come up with any specific recommendations yet. Those are things we’re going to be discussing in the next week. Are there any precautions, is there anything different, we’re going to do with spring break or with Ultra,' Gimenez said Thursday. Spring breakers in South Beach, Miami pictured last year

‘We haven’t come up with any specific recommendations yet. Those are things we’re going to be discussing in the next week. Are there any precautions, is there anything different, we’re going to do with spring break or with Ultra,’ Gimenez said Thursday. Spring breakers in South Beach, Miami pictured last year

Giminez said officials are concerned over how coronavirus may effect large events including Miami’s Ultra fest which begins March 20 and the county Youth Fair in the Kendall area, which starts March 12.  

‘We haven’t come up with any specific recommendations yet. Those are things we’re going to be discussing in the next week. Are there any precautions, is there anything different, we’re going to do with spring break or with Ultra,’ Gimenez said Thursday. 

While no officials plans have been made for the Ultra electronic music festival in regards to safety measures, Ultra said it plans to have extra hand-sanitizing stations at the three-day event and will promote health tips related to corona for attendees. 

‘There are no plans to cancel, postpone, move or scale down the 2020 production,’ the festival said. 

‘The health and safety of our attendees, artists and staff are of paramount concern to us and we will continue to follow the recommendations of the experts respecting issues on public health.’ 

Disney Parks is also taking preventative measures ahead of a surge of Spring Break travelers that will head to the sunshine state this month. 

Ultra Music Festival said it will not cancel its three-day event but will boost health safety measures by installing extra hand-sanitizing stations. Fans at the festival in 2018 pictured above

Ultra Music Festival said it will not cancel its three-day event but will boost health safety measures by installing extra hand-sanitizing stations. Fans at the festival in 2018 pictured above

Ultra Music Festival said it will not cancel its three-day event but will boost health safety measures by installing extra hand-sanitizing stations. Fans at the festival in 2018 pictured above

Revelers at the Ultra Music Festival in 2016 pictured above

Revelers at the Ultra Music Festival in 2016 pictured above

Revelers at the Ultra Music Festival in 2016 pictured above 

Disney confirmed Wednesday that some third-party Epcot workers were asked to stay home after they returned from a trip to Italy. 

More than 20million people alone visited the Magic Kingdom, the world’s busiest park, in 2018, according to estimates. 

‘If there’s a serious U.S. outbreak, it would manifest, in my opinion, at about the time the destination parks are really starting to kick in with Easter and spring break,’ Dennis Speigel, president of the International Theme Park Services consulting firm, said to the Orlando Sentinel

‘That could be horrible. Spring break, that is one of the biggest periods,’ he said.  

In late January Disney indefinitely closed its Asian resorts because of the virus. 

New Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in a CNBC interview Tuesday: ‘While this is certainly a bump in the road in terms of the coronavirus, we’ll come through this like we’ve come through every other challenge that we’ve had, and that affinity for the brand and our storytelling will way outlast any short-term blip that we have from corona.’  

SeaWorld theme parks said they haven’t seen any ‘discernible impact to our business’ from the virus, CEO Serge Rivera told investors Wednesday. 

SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Studios say they’re in contact with health officials to assure the safety of visitors and employees.  

‘We are communicating with our team members and reinforcing our best-practice health and hygiene procedures. We are also educating them on basic preventive measures. We will continue to monitor the situation and be ready to act if needed,’ Universal said in a statement. 

Miami has been put on high alert to avoid contracting cases of the virus. 

Disney confirmed Wednesday that some third-party Epcot workers were asked to stay home after they returned from a trip to Italy. In late January Disney indefinitely closed its Asian resorts because of the virus

Disney confirmed Wednesday that some third-party Epcot workers were asked to stay home after they returned from a trip to Italy. In late January Disney indefinitely closed its Asian resorts because of the virus

Disney confirmed Wednesday that some third-party Epcot workers were asked to stay home after they returned from a trip to Italy. In late January Disney indefinitely closed its Asian resorts because of the virus

SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Studios say they're in contact with health officials to assure the safety of visitors and employees

SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Studios say they're in contact with health officials to assure the safety of visitors and employees

SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Studios say they’re in contact with health officials to assure the safety of visitors and employees

On Friday Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss coronavirus preparedness.  

 ‘We are going to make sure states like Florida, and your local health officials, have the resources to be able to be prepared for any eventuality,’ Pence said. 

Florida has faced an issue with processing rest results. On Friday officials with the Florida Department of Heath said that they are now able to test people for the coronavirus in state labs in Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami and results should take 24 to 48 hours to process instead of three to five days. 

While Miami International Airport does not have direct connections to Asia, where the global spread of coronavirus began, it does shuttle millions of passengers, 52 percent of which were international travelers, according to 2019 data. 

PortMiami, a popular destination for people traveling by sea, may be a place to watch out for. 

Two cruise ships that were denied entry at two Caribbean ports over a suspected case of coronavirus will return to PortMiami on Wednesday after it was determined a crew member only had influenza, according to PortMiami director Juan Kuryla.  

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