State Department updates language of China travel advisory amid coronavirus outbreak: 'Do not travel' to Hubei

The U.S. Department of State updated its travel advisory for China amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that’s sickened over 800 and killed at least 26 people.

On Jan. 23, the department added new language to the current Level 2 advisory, urging travelers to continue to “exercise increased caution” amid the “novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan.”

The Department of State also issued a Level 4 alert for just the Hubei province — in which Wuhan is located — recommending that American citizens "do not travel" to the region.

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The travel advisory itself, meanwhile, remains at a Level 2, where it was prior to Jan. 23. Previously, the country was under a Level 2 warning due to “arbitrary enforcement of local laws and special restrictions on dual U.S.-Chinese citizens.”

In its new language, the State Department cited the CDC and its “Warning Level 3” alert, which advises that people “avoid non-essential travel” to the region.

In addition, the State Department shared many of the CDC’s recommendations for travelers that must be in Wuhan, or those who feel they may have contracted the coronavirus.

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Among the recommendations, the CDC and State Department urge travelers to avoid contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead), meat markets, animal markets and uncooked meat. Travelers should also wash hands often (specifically with soap and water, for 20 seconds) and use an alcohol-based sanitizer if water is not immediately available. Additional guidelines can be found at the State Department and CDC’s websites.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the State Department further reiterated that the current travel advisory level for China did not change but rather the language of the travel advisory, which now includes additional information about the outbreak.

“Today, we updated the China Travel Advisory to include additional information on the coronavirus outbreak,” said spokesperson in a statement. “The Advisory remains a Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution. Earlier today, Travel.State.gov briefly displayed an inaccurate version of the Advisory due to a technical error – we apologize for any confusion. Again, the Advisory level has not changed.”

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As the coronavirus continues to infect people — as of Friday, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Vietnam and the U.S. all confirmed cases of the pneumonia-like virus — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Chinese government, among other officials, are attempting to stem the spread of the illness.

On Friday, the CDC and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had implemented “enhanced health screenings” for airline passengers arriving from or traveling through the Wuhan province of China. Screenings for the virus began that day at three major air hubs: San Francisco International Airport (SFO), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The CDC later announced expanded health entry screenings at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) and O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago.

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The Chinese government had later quarantined Wuhan, temporarily shutting down its airport and public transportation.

Fox News' Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.