As of 27 January 2020, there have been more than 2,750 cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) reported across at least 30 provinces in China, while additional cases have been confirmed in at least 13 other countries, including: Australia (5), Cambodia (1), Canada (1), France (3), Japan (4), Malaysia (4), Nepal (1) Singapore (4), South Korea (4), Taiwan (4), Thailand (8), Vietnam (2) and the U.S. (5). At least 81 people have died from the virus thus far. In China, the travel ban has been extended to central China and covers at least 15 cities. Approximately 56 million people are currently in locations under lockdown. Municipal officials in Wuhan and 16 other cities in Hubei province have implemented citywide travel restrictions beginning on 26 January in an attempt to limit the spread of the outbreak.
The following municipalities have implemented travel restrictions in addition to those currently in effect for Wuhan and Hubei province:
- Inter-provincial transportation services have been suspended in Beijing, Shandong province, Shantou City, Shanghai, Tianjin and Xi’an;
- Shanghai Pudong International Airport (ZSPD/PVG) will suspend long distance bus services to and from the facility on 28 January; businesses have been ordered to remain closed until 1200 local time (0400 UTC) on 9 February;
- Intercity bus, rail and taxi services have also been restricted in these areas and elsewhere.
Authorities may implement further restrictions on travel within the above municipalities in addition to other major cities or provincial districts across China in the short-term as authorities work to reduce the spread of the viral outbreak. Meanwhile, the Chinese government announced that the Lunar New Year holiday would be extended by three days to 2 February, while Hong Kong extended its school holiday until 17 February.
Numerous governments have begun preparations to evacuate diplomatic personnel and private citizens from Wuhan, including Australia, France, India, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. Chinese authorities have been coordinating with relevant governments to facilitate such operations. Furthermore, on 27 January authorities in Malaysia announced they would stop issuing visas for Chinese nationals from Hubei province until further notice. Likewise Mongolia’s government announced that beginning on 28 January the border crossing with China will be restricted until further notice as a precaution to prevent the spread of the virus.
The U.S. State Department, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and a number of additional governments have advised against all travel to Hubei province due to the outbreak. In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a “Warning – Level 3” alert regarding the outbreak; additional information can be found here.