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30 Jan 2020 | 08:39 PM UTC

US: State Department advises against all travel to China January 30 /update 5

US Department of State raises travel advisory to Level 4: Do Not Travel for all of mainland China on January 30 due to ongoing novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak

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USA

Event

The US Department of State increased its travel advisory to Level 4: Do Not Travel (the highest level) for all of mainland China on Thursday, January 30, due to the ongoing novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. US citizens are also being warned to prepare for travel restrictions that may be put into effect with little or no advance notice. All non-essential US government personnel have been requested to defer travel to China.

As of Thursday, five cases of 2019-nCoV have been confirmed in the US. Cases have been confirmed in the states of Washington, California, Arizona, and Illinois. The first human-to-human transmission of the virus in the US was also confirmed on Thursday. Another 92 suspected cases are still being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC maintains as of January 30 that "the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV is considered low" for the general American public.

Further spread of the illness is possible over the near term.

Context

The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan. Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

As of January 30, cases of the virus have been reported in Australia, Canada, Cambodia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, the US, and Vietnam. Human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in Germany, Japan, the US, and Vietnam. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.  

Advice

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

• Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold

• Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)

• Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask

• Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly

• Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments

• Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease