U.S. Warns Citizens Against Travel to China

state department

The United States warned Americans not to travel to China as the death toll from a new virus reached 213 on Friday and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency, Reuters reported.

Stock markets steadied slightly after the WHO praised China’s efforts to contain the virus, following a tumble the previous day over a rising toll in the world’s second-biggest economy.

“Do not travel to China due to novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan,” the U.S. State Department said in a new travel advisory on its website, raising the warning for China to the same level as Afghanistan and Iraq.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament the government had decided to raise its infectious disease advisory level for China, urging citizens to avoid non-urgent trips.

Japan’s advisory for China’s central province of Hubei, of which Wuhan is capital, and where the virus first emerged in December, is one level higher, advising citizens not to travel there.

China has taken “the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures”, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said in response to the WHO declaration, although Beijing has not commented on the U.S. travel warning.

“We have full confidence and capability to win this fight,” Hua Chunying said in a statement.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had commended China for its efforts and said the WHO was not recommending curbs on travel or trade with China.

He said the global emergency was declared because of the danger of the virus spreading to countries with weak health systems, adding, “We must act now.”

Chinese health authorities said the number of infections had risen to 9,692 by Thursday.

There have been no deaths outside China, although as many as 129 cases have been reported in 22 other countries and regions, with eight instances of human-to-human transmission in four countries, including the United States and Germany.

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