US advises citizens to reconsider travel to China after coronavirus outbreak


BEIJING, CHINA – JANUARY 26: A Chinese girl wears a protective mask as she stands on an overlook towards the Forbidden City, which was closed by authorities, during the Chinese New Year holiday on January 26, 2020 in Beijing, China. The number of cases of a deadly new coronavirus rose to over 2000 in mainland China Sunday as health officials locked down the city of Wuhan earlier in the week in an effort to contain the spread of the pneumonia-like disease which medicals experts have confirmed can be passed from human to human. In an unprecedented move, Chinese authorities put travel restrictions on the city which is the epicentre of the virus and neighbouring municipalities affecting tens of millions of people. The number of those who have died from the virus in China climbed to at least 56 on Sunday and cases have been reported in other countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON — The United States is cautioning travelers to reconsider visiting China due to the threat from the coronavirus virus outbreak that has killed more than 100 and sickened thousands across that country and has spread globally.

On Monday, the US State Department raised its travel advisory level from Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution to Level 3: Reconsider Travel due to the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.

Last week, the State Department increased its travel advisory for China’s Hubei Province — of which Wuhan is the provincial capital– to Level 4: Do Not Travel. It also ordered the evacuation of all non-emergency personnel and their families from China’s Hubei Province.

The State Department has arranged a flight for those personnel and — as space allows — US citizens to leave Wuhan. A State Department official said Monday that the flight would depart Wednesday morning China Standard Time and would travel to Ontario, California.

“Priority has been given to U.S. citizens who are most at risk of contracting the coronavirus if they remain in Wuhan,” the official said. “All passengers will be subject to CDC screening, health observation, and monitoring requirements.”

According to a US official with knowledge of the matter, the flight will have medical personnel on board to treat anyone with the virus and make sure it is contained.

There are about 1,000 Americans living in Wuhan, that official said.

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control raised its travel precautions for China to the highest of three levels, “warning,” which advises travelers to “avoid nonessential travel” to the country.

There are at least five confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US and that number is expected to rise.

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