STUDENTS are being urged not to travel to places like Miami and Cancun for Spring Break — as officials fear its pool parties could be “breeding grounds” for coronavirus.
Music festivals and beach parties face the possibility of being axed as authorities battle to contain the virus which has so far killed nine in the US.
Each March and April, thousands of students flock to beach resorts in Florida, Texas and Mexico for raucous Spring Break parties — but are they safe to visit?
Most colleges across the nation think not and are warning students not to go because of fears over the virus.
The Trump administration plans to implement further travel restrictions to “additional countries” amid the quickly escalating number of coronavirus cases in the United States, according to a top transportation official.
Transportation Security Administration Administrator David Pekoske said Tuesday that further restrictions will soon be announced.
Authorities in Miami are readying for a huge influx of revellers and say they are preparing for it as a potential emergency — adding it is treating the outbreak like a “hurricane threat”.
Police and health officials fear Spring Breakers could bring the virus into Florida and then spread it at boozy sex-fuelled parties.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said last night: “I liken this to a hurricane threat.”
He also issued guidance on how to avoid catching the virus.
He said: “We want to remind persons to clean their fingers frequently — use hand sanitizer.
“A nod is much better than a handshake or a kiss.”
Florida had its first two “presumptive positive” cases or coronavirus earlier this week, the state’s department of health said.
Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld are also taking preventive measures ahead of a surge of Spring Break theme park visitors.
Dennis Speigel, president of the International Theme Park Services consulting firm, warned of the inherent risks.
He told the Orlando Sentinel: “If there’s a serious US outbreak, it would manifest at about the time the destination parks are really starting to kick in with Easter and Spring Break.
“That could be horrible — Spring Break, that is one of the biggest periods.”
Meanwhile in South Padre Island on the Gulf coast of Texas — another hot spot for Spring Breakers — police and fire officials revealed their safety plans.
A medical tent and ambulances will be on standby and extra cops and lifeguards will be on patrol.
Mexico has at least three Covid-19 cases including one in party resort Cancun, which is expecting thousands of US Spring Breakers in the coming weeks.
The patient there is a woman from California who had recently been to Europe.
Colleges across the US are stepping up precautions against the virus and many have cancelled study abroad programs in Asia and Italy.
Students on exchange schemes in affected regions have been ordered to return to the US.
Schools that have 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.
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Last night America’s second coronavirus death was confirmed in Kirkland, Washington, days after a man died in nearby Seattle.
Another seven cases were confirmed in Washington, bringing the total to 13.
Experts warned the virus could have been in the country unnoticed for six weeks and infected hundreds of people.