KEY POINTS

  • The State Department late Thursday issued a "Level 4: Do Not Travel" warning ordering Americans not to travel to China
  • The Novel corononavirus in China has led to the deaths of 213 people and is confirmed to have infected 9,480 others
  • The Level 4 warning will remain in effect until further notice

The U.S. Department of State late Thursday evening issued an emergency "Level 4: Do Not Travel" warning ordering Americans not to travel to China to avoid infection by the rapidly spreading Novel corononavirus (2019-nCoV) that's already sent six Americans to hospitals.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also issued a Warning for all of China. The coronavirus has led to the deaths of 213 people (all in China) and is confirmed to have infected 9,480 others as of late Thursday evening, according to official Chinese government data.

The state department said American travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. It said commercial airline companies have reduced or suspended routes to and from China. Those currently in China should consider leaving using commercial means.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also added his warning to that of his department's by tweeting: "@StateDept is increasing the #China Travel Advisory to Level 4 – Do Not Travel. This is due to the spread of the novel #coronavirus throughout China & the @WHO determination that the outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern."

The State department said that on January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern." It's requesting all non-essential U.S. government personnel to defer travel to China in light of the novel coronavirus.

It pointed out 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 in an effort to contain the novel coronavirus.

The state department ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their family members from Wuhan on January 23. A planeload of these evacuees returned to the U.S. Wednesday.

The state department warned the U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Hubei province, which is the epicenter of the outbreak, also called the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak because it first appeared in the provincial capital of Wuhan.

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 in a bid to control the outbreak.

President Donald Trump, however, noted that the China coronovirus shouldn't be a worry to Americans. He said the government “have it all under control" and that the virus is a “very small problem in this country.”

“We are working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for us, that I can assure you,” said Trump.

AFP reporters witness police and medics in protective suits dealing with a dead body in Wuhan
AFP reporters witness police and medics in protective suits dealing with a dead body in Wuhan AFP / Hector RETAMAL
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