Published on Tuesday, January 28, 2020

US warns against non-essential travel to China

The US is urging all Americans to avoid travelling to China unless their trip is essential.

It has updated its China travel warning to level 3, which urges US citizens to 'avoid nonessential travel' to the country.

The State Department has also raised the travel warning for Hubei province to level 4 insisting it has 'limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens' in the province.

The US government is arranging evacuation flights of all non-emergency personnel and their families from the Hubei region, and other US citizens if space allows.

A US official said about 1,000 Americans live in Wuhan.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its highest travel warning level advising Americans to postpone travel plans to China due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, the UK's Foreign Office is still advising against travel to Hubei province but hasn't extended its warning beyond that.

Hong Kong is to suspend rail links between the territory and mainland China from Thursday and buses and ferry services will also be cut back in an effort to limit travel across its border.

Authorities in Beijing have confirmed the death of a 50-year-old man, the first victim of the coronavirus in the Chinese capital.

So far 106 people have died and there are 4,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

About 700 new cases a day have been reported over the past few days.

Public transportation around the Hubei region is extremely limited with air, bus and rail services suspended.

Meanwhile, Chinese travel giant has extened cancellation waivers to 30,000 overseas hotels. It was already offering free cancellations for hotels within China.

Chinese authorities have ordered travel agents in China to stop selling tours - both domestic and international - until further notice.

The move will be of concern to UK travel and tourism businesses which rely heavily on Chinese visitors.

See our Expert Insight into the possible impact on UK tourism, by Helena Beard, MD of China Travel Outbound.

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