/CDC to travelers: Avoid all nonessential travel to China due to coronavirus outbreak

CDC to travelers: Avoid all nonessential travel to China due to coronavirus outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. State Department late Monday expanded their travel advisories to cover all of China due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The CDC issued a level 3 travel warning, its highest level, recommending travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China. Previously only Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, was at a Level 3. The rest of China was rated Level 2, which recommends “practice enhanced precautions.”

The U.S. State Department issued a level 3 alert for China, urging U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to China. Last week, it issued a level 4 alert, its highest, for Wuhan. A level 4 means “Do not travel.”

Police officers wearing masks stand in front of the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing. The number of coronavirus cases rose to 1,975 in mainland China on Sunday. On Monday, the U.S. State Department issued a level 3 alert, urging U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to China.

U.S. airlines serving China had already put waivers in place for travelers who don’t want to travel to destinations including Beijing and Shanghai amid the outbreak, allowing them to postpone or cancel plans without the usual penalty. 

It is unclear how the broader warnings will affect their operations, including their flights.

CDC officials had strongly suggested in a briefing with reporters on Monday that changes were coming given the rapidly evolving situation.