The United States is cautioning travelers to reconsider visiting China due to the threat from the coronavirus virus outbreak that has killed more than 80 and sickened thousands across that country and has spread globally.
On Monday, the US State Department raised its travel advisory level from Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution to Level 3: Reconsider Travel due to the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.
Last week, the State Department increased its travel advisory for China’s Hubei Province – of which Wuhan is the provincial capital– to Level 4: Do Not Travel. It also ordered the evacuation of all non-emergency personnel and their families from China’s Hubei Province.
The State Department has arranged a flight for those personnel and – as space allows – US citizens to leave Wuhan. A State Department official said Monday that the flight would depart Wednesday morning China Standard Time and would travel to Ontario, California.
“Priority has been given to U.S. citizens who are most at risk of contracting the coronavirus if they remain in Wuhan,” the official said. “All passengers will be subject to CDC screening, health observation, and monitoring requirements.”
According to a US official with knowledge of the matter, the flight will have medical personnel on board to treat anyone with the virus and make sure it is contained.
There are about 1,000 Americans living in Wuhan, that official said.
On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control raised its travel precautions for China to the highest of three levels, “warning,” which advises travelers to “avoid nonessential travel” to the country.
There are at least five confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US and that number is expected to rise. On Monday, there were almost 2,800 confirmed cases in China and at least 80 dead from the illness. Across China, 15 cities with a combined population of over 57 million people have been placed under full or partial lockdown.
CNN’s Steven Jiang, Veronica Stracqualursi, and Scottie Andrew contributed to this report.