US Advises Against All China Travel Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) first came to the attention of the World Health Organization on December 31, 2019, after a number of suspected pneumonia cases were reported in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. One week later, the mystery illness was confirmed to be a new strain of coronavirus, the same family of diseases as severe accute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). 

Wuhan, a city of over 10 million people, went into lockdown on January 23, in order to curb the spread of the virus. It was also announced that the Chinese New Year holiday will be extended in order to contain the spread of the respiratory disease. 

The death toll from the coronavirus now stands at 213, with nearly 9,700 confirmed cases reported. 

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Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around China over the past 24 hours:

UPDATE (February 1, 2020 4.15pm CST): Beijing Ducks basketball player Jeremy Lin announced on several personal social media accounts that he would no longer stay in China amidst the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. With the CBA season postponed, Lin shared that he will be living in the US for the time being, along with some heartfelt words about the global crisis:

Life is too short and too precious for time to be wasted. Ive lived in China this past season and now being back on US soil, Im saddened by the racist comments regarding the virus in China. There are real people suffering and real heroes working around the clock in service to others please dont let your fear or ignorance rob you of seeing that. This world needs more compassion and empathy.

UPDATE (February 1, 2020 3.57pm CST): Several US airlines announced flight cancellations to and from mainland China. On Friday, Delta announced that all China-bound flights from the US would be canceled starting on February 6. The temporary suspension will run through April 30. American Airlines made a similar announcement, suspending all flights from the US to China and vice versa until March 27. United Airlines is also halting all flights between the US and Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai from February 6 through March 28. 

UPDATE (January 31, 2020 10.05am CST): The US issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory on Thursday. The US Department of State released the following statement:

Do not travel to China due to novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. On January 30, the World Health Organization has determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.  Commercial carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China.

Those currently in China should consider departing using commercial means. The Department of State has requested that all non-essential U.S. government personnel defer travel to China in light of the novel coronavirus. 

In an effort to contain the novel coronavirus, the Chinese authorities have suspended air, road, and rail travel in the area around Wuhan and placed restrictions on travel and other activities throughout the country. On January 23, 2020, the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their family members from Wuhan. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Hubei province.

UPDATE (January 31, 2020 10.05am CST): On Thursday, the second meeting of the Emergency Committee was convened by WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus regarding Chinas novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, with the committee agreeing that the outbreak now meets the criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The announcement acknowledges that the spread of the disease represents a risk outside of China, with 18 other countries already having confirmed cases.

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