Coronavirus concerns force 37 to quarantine after Houston Museum of Natural Science trip to Egypt

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- They toured the ancient sites and famed places in one of the world's oldest civilizations last month. Now, they're back home and are having to isolate themselves thanks to the coronavirus outbreak.

Thirty-seven people who toured Egypt have been asked by the City of Houston to isolate for 14 days, according to a statement from the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

The group returned to Houston after a two-week journey, which ended on Monday. The traveling group included two HMNS staffers, the museum said.

They were participating in the Houston Museum of Natural Science Adult Education Program, which includes lectures, classes, and travel.

"Upon learning about the six confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Houston area, we immediately contacted our HMNS staff and travelers and provided links to information via email about the virus and precautions to take from local, state, national and international organizations," HMNS Vice President of Public Relations, Melodie Wade said. "We touched base with them daily during the remainder of the trip and asked them to check their temperatures daily and keep us informed of any concerns. Their safety is of utmost importance to us."

While it wasn't clear if any of the travelers had symptoms associated with the virus, Egypt has been in the coronavirus headlines after a dozen cases of the illness diagnosed involved people aboard a Nile River cruise ship in southern Egypt.

Eight cases of coronavirus in the Houston area and three cases in Maryland appear to be connected to a river cruise in Egypt.

The country reported nearly 60 cases, including one death.

"We also proactively contacted the city to ask for guidance and have notified all passengers that the City asks them to self-quarantine for 14 days," Wade said.

While the group has been asked to self-quarantine, the museum is not allowing anybody on the trip to come to the facility, according to Wade.



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