Several countries issue travel warnings for Hubei Province, China, as of Jan. 28 amid travel restrictions. Some evacuations planned.

Severity: Critical Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Wuhan, Hubei Province
  • Changsha, Hunan Province
  • Nanchang, Jiangxi Province
  • Shantou, Guangdong Province
  • Hefei, Anhui Province
  • Xiangyang, Hubei Province
  • Zhangjiajie (Dayong), Hunan Province
  • Wanzhou, Chongqing
  • Shiyan, China

This alert began 28 Jan 2020 10:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 10 Feb 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Several countries have issued warnings or advisories against travel to Wuhan and surrounding areas of Hubei Province as of Jan. 28. The warnings come amid significant transport restrictions in parts of Hubei, especially Wuhan, due to an ongoing 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak. Reports indicate that some countries plan to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan in the coming days; however, few details on the evacuations are publicly available, as foreign governments are still working with Chinese officials to finalize plans.

Chinese authorities continue to enforce outbound travel restrictions to several cities in Hubei as of Jan. 28. Officials indefinitely suspended all outbound rail, long-distance bus, air, and ferry travel from the provincial capital, Wuhan, beginning 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, among others. Authorities have indefinitely suspended public transportation, including buses and subways, halted nonessential government services, and banned public gatherings in affected cities. More limited disruptions are occurring in other locations. Checkpoints are in place on roads in the affected areas. In some locations, especially near Wuhan, 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 areas as a precaution. It is unclear how long the transport and movement restrictions will remain in effect; however, relaxation of the mandate will likely depend on the intensity and duration of the outbreak.

Authorities could implement movement restrictions in additional areas of Hubei Province in the coming days. The extension of travel restrictions to areas adjacent to Hubei Province, including parts of Chongqing, Shanxi, Henan, Anhui, Jiangxi, and Hunan, cannot be ruled out. The measures 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.

Advice
Consider avoiding travel to Wuhan and other affected areas in central Hubei Province until authorities lift movement and transport restrictions. If operating in affected areas, register with 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.