'Avoid All Nonessential Travel to China': Coronavirus Prompts CDC to Expand Travel Warning (Video)

On Monday evening, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. State Department relayed a new message regarding the coronavirus and travel. In the statement both government organizations expanded their already expansive travel advisories to now cover all of China due to the illness that has killed over 100.

The State Department issued a level three travel warning for U.S. citizens traveling to China. Level three is the second harshest warning and urges travelers to reconsider all travel altogether.

“Reconsider travel to China due to novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. Some areas have increased risk,” the warning states. It added, the (CDC) has also issued its own level three warning, which reads: “Avoid all nonessential travel to China. Chinese authorities are imposing quarantines and restricting travel throughout the country.”

Crowds wearing masks amid coronavirus
People wearing protective masks to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in Wuhan, queue to take a taxi at the Beijing railway station. NICOLAS ASFOURI/Getty Images

But, that’s not all. The State Department also issued a level four warning for Hubei province, China.

“There is an ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness first identified in Wuhan, China, caused by a novel (new) coronavirus,” the warning reads. “In an effort to contain the novel coronavirus, the Chinese authorities have suspended air and rail travel in the area around Wuhan. On January 23, 2020, the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their family members. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Hubei province.”

It added, all travelers should be aware that the Chinese government “could prevent them from entering or exiting parts of Hubei province.”

Coronavirus has so far killed 106 people in mainland China with more than 4,515 confirmed cases across the country, and 70 confirmed cases outside China, including the US, Australia, France and Germany, according to CNN.

However, if you must travel to China, the State Department offered a few tips: Avoid contact with sick people, discuss travel to China with your healthcare provider prior to departure, avoid contact animals and animal markets, and wash hands as often as possible with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

The United States isn’t alone in issuing this type of alert. Canada, The Washington Post reported, also issued its highest level warning for citizens traveling to Hubei province.

Hong Kong has also closed off all rail links to mainland China, in an attempt to contain the disease, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday. The train closure will go into affect on Thursday.

Even the travel industry isn’t taking any chances. As Travel+Leisure previously reported, several cruise lines canceled sailings to China, including Royal Caribbean, which canceled its Jan. 27 and Jan. 31 itineraries from Shanghai.

“For travelers with upcoming cruises sailing to or from China, it’s best to contact your cruise line or travel advisor directly with any questions or concerns,” Chris Gray Faust, the managing editor of Cruise Critic, told Travel + Leisure. “All cruise lines that have canceled cruises are offering affected guests the option to receive a full refund.”

Several airlines are also offering flight waivers and airports around the world are taking note by updating health and safety measures. Check out all the latest information on how airlines and airports are dealing with the virus before your next flight.

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