Transportation: Chinese officials impose mandatory 14-day home quarantines in parts of Hubei Province from Feb. 13. Regional travel restrictions continue.

Severity: Critical Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Wuhan, Hubei Province
  • Xiangyang, Hubei Province
  • Shiyan, China

This alert began 13 Feb 2020 19:07 GMT and is scheduled to expire 03 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Hubei Province (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions; increased security; movement restrictions; possible civil unrest

Summary
Authorities have further tightened movement restrictions in parts of Hubei Province due to the ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. From Feb. 13, officials in Huanggang, Shiyan's Zhangwan District, Dawu County, and Gucheng County are implementing mandatory 14-day home quarantines. All residents of the areas, except for essential law enforcement, food production, utility, and medical workers, will be required to stay in their homes through at least Feb. 27. Authorities have pledged to deliver food and other daily necessities to residents in affected communities. Similar movement restrictions may be imposed in additional areas of Hubei in the coming days.

Officials continue to seal off sections of buildings with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in locations throughout Hubei Province, including in Wuhan. Personnel are restricting movements from residents of affected apartments. Additionally, suspected patients exhibiting mild symptoms are not allowed to seek medical help outside their home district; officials will treat or quarantine suspected cases at designated local facilities.

The latest measures accompany significant transport restrictions in Hubei. Chinese authorities continue to enforce outbound travel restrictions in most parts of the province as of Feb. 14. Officials indefinitely suspended all outbound rail, long-distance bus, air, and ferry travel from Wuhan early Jan. 23. Similar restrictions on outbound transit are also in effect in more than a dozen other cities, including Ezhou, Huanggang, Jingmen, Qiangjiang, Xianning, and Zhijiang. Authorities have indefinitely suspended public transportation, including buses and subways, halted nonessential government services, and banned public gatherings in affected cities. Checkpoints are in place on roads in the affected areas. In some locations, outbound ground transport is effectively banned, while officials have imposed mandatory body temperature checks in other areas. Leaders have also instructed residents to remain within their cities and avoid crowded spaces as a precaution. It is unclear how long the transport and movement restrictions will remain in effect; however, relaxation of the measures will depend largely on the regional intensity and duration of the outbreak.

Movement restrictions will continue to prompt significant transport, business, and supply chain disruptions in central Hubei, and possibly in adjacent areas. Authorities have deployed additional security forces to the region and nearby communities to enforce the movement restrictions and maintain public order. Localized incidents of civil unrest are possible.

Several countries have issued warnings or advisories against travel to Wuhan and surrounding areas of Hubei Province. Various countries have also evacuated their citizens from Wuhan; additional evacuations are possible in the coming days, though the operations require permission and coordination with Chinese officials.

Advice
Avoid travel to Hubei Province until authorities lift movement and transport restrictions. If operating in affected areas, register and maintain contact with your diplomatic mission. Follow all official instructions and remain polite and nonconfrontational if questioned by security personnel. Avoid crowded areas as a precaution. Closely monitor official announcements on any additional movement restrictions. Confirm travel reservations in and around Hubei Province. Stock up on essential supplies whenever possible.

Use basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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