The State Department on Monday urged Americans to reconsider traveling to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus, and said it ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their families out of the country.
The travel advisory increase from Level 2 to Level 3 comes as Chinese authorities continue to impose quarantines and travel restrictions in and around Wuhan, where the virus was first reported last year.
At least 80 people have died and nearly 2,000 have been infected. The warning said travelers should avoid non-essential travel to China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued a Level 3 warning to avoid all travel to China.
The agency said it has chartered a flight for American government personnel in Wuhan for Wednesday morning. The flight will depart Wuhan Tianhe International Airport and ultimately arrive in Ontario, Calif., a State Department officials said.
Passengers will be screened for symptoms at the airport in Wuhan before leaving. Some U.S. citizens will be offered space on the flight but will have to reimburse the government.
The government has limited ability to provide “emergency services” to American citizens in the Hubei province, where Wuhan is located and at least 76 people have died, the State Department said.
China authorities have been grappling with how to contain the pneumonia-like virus, known as 2019-nCoV. The government has banned the trade of wild animals, restricted travel in and around Wuhan and locked down 17 cities — impacting 50 million people.
Wuhan also banned most vehicle use, including private cars, in downtown areas.
Other countries are also taking precautions. Mongolia has closed its border with China and Malaysia has halted the issue of visas to people visiting from Whan.
Five confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in the U.S. Health officials said there are 110 cases under investigation. The CDC said in an update on Monday that five of the cases in the U.S. tested positive for the novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, and 32 so far had produced negative results.
Fox News’ Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.