The United States has told its citizens “do not travel” to China, raising its advisory status to the highest level of alert possible because of the coronavirus epidemic.
In issuing a level four warning – up from urging Americans to “reconsider” travel to China earlier this week – the State Department said it was acting after the World Health Organisation declared the epidemic, which originated in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, an international emergency.
In an updated travel advisory, the department said any Americans in China now “should consider departing using commercial means”.
The department ordered the departure of all non-emergency US personnel and their family members from Wuhan last week.
“The US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in Hubei province,” the advisory said.
Earlier this week, the Australian Federal Government updated its travel advice for China, warning all Australians should now reconsider their need to travel to the country.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne announced the change just after midnight on Wednesday, adding that no one should travel to the Hubei province, where dozens of people have died and thousands more have been infected by the coronavirus.
“Due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus, we now advise you ‘reconsider your need to travel’ to China overall and ‘do not travel’ to Hubei province,” the advice on smartraveller.gov.au now reads.
“Chinese authorities have restricted travel for parts of the country and may extend these restrictions at short notice. Travellers may be quarantined, due to their health condition or previous location.
“If you’ve travelled to Hubei province and have developed symptoms of respiratory illness, contact your doctor,” the advice adds.
The World Health Organisation has declared a global emergency over coronavirus after the number of cases spiked tenfold in a week.
The death toll from coronavirus has risen to at least 213 in mainland China, with 42 deaths tallied in Hubei and 30 in Wuhan, which has been considered the epicentre of the outbreak.
The World Health Organisation today declared coronavirus a global emergency, after the United States and South Korea confirmed their first cases of the virus spreading person to person.
Human-to-human spread of the virus outside China has also occurred in Germany, Japan, Canada and Vietnam, which was a major reason the World Health Organisation convened its committee of experts to assess whether the outbreak warranted being declared a global emergency.
Outside China, there are 98 infections in 18 countries, according to the WHO. That figure rose from 82 this morning.
– with AP