The US State Department advises against traveling to China because of the new lung virus. Already planned trips should be put to the test again, the ministry said on Monday.
China could also impose exit restrictions on US citizens at a later date, the ministry warned. For the Hubei province and the city of Wuhan, which were particularly affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus, the ministry specifically warned against any travel.
The US health agency CDC on Monday urged Americans to avoid all unnecessary trips to China. Previously, the authority had only issued this warning level for the Hubei province and otherwise only warned against special caution in China.
Because of the lung disease, more and more countries want to get their nationals back from the regions most affected. “We are working on a way for British citizens to leave Hubei Province,” the UK government said on Monday.
Belgium offered to return to compatriots in Wuhan and the Hubei province, and the Netherlands, Denmark and other countries were also looking into ways to fly out of the country. Other countries, such as Japan, France and the United States, have already launched such return campaigns.
The Federal Government is also considering fleeing Germans willing to leave China. A possible evacuation will be considered, said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD). According to “Spiegel” information, the Air Force should fly to China on Wednesday or Thursday and fly out around 90 German citizens who have registered with the Federal Foreign Office. According to the “Spiegel”, in the talks with the German government, Beijing insists that civil aircraft and not military aircraft take over.
Around 90 Germans live in the metropolis of Wuhan in central China, the starting point for the epidemic, as a spokeswoman for the Federal Foreign Office said. So far, there is no evidence that one of them has contracted the new virus.
The Chinese government banned the sale of package tours abroad and within China at the end of last week. Touristists now fear worse business for German travel destinations. One observes the current situation with concern, for example the Tourismus Marketing GmbH Baden-Württemberg announced on Monday. The effects of the ban on popular travel destinations such as Heidelberg cannot yet be predicted in detail.
According to the latest data from 2018, around three million overnight stays by Chinese travelers in hotels, guest houses and other accommodations between Rügen and Garmisch-Partenkirchen were counted. “The high spending behavior of the Chinese with a turnover of six billion euros in 2018 reflects the economic importance for retail and the tourism and leisure industry in Germany,” said Petra Hedorfer, chairman of the board of the German National Tourist Board (DZT).
The Swiss hotel industry expects a drop in the number of guests from China of 30 to 50 percent, as a spokesman for the Swiss hotel industry said.
The infection with the novel corona virus has now cost the lives of more than 100 people in China. As reported by state television on Tuesday, there are 24 new fatalities in the particularly hard-hit province of Hubei alone. This confirms at least 104 deaths across the country. In addition, 1,291 new infections were detected in Hubei, bringing the total number of known diseases to over 4,000.
The Chinese capital Beijing also reported the first death on Monday evening. The authorities said it was a 50-year-old man who had been in the metropolis of Wuhan, where the virus originally broke out – probably at an animal market.
The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) arrived in Beijing on Monday to inquire personally about the situation. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will meet government officials and other crisis management experts, the WHO office in Beijing said. Foreign Minister Maas has advised against traveling to China. “Travelers should consider not postponing or refraining from compulsory trips to China.”
Fears that the novel corona virus could spread and weaken the Chinese economy drove prices for heating oil and gasoline sharply on Monday.
There were five confirmed infections in the US by Monday, Canada reported a first “tentatively confirmed” case. There are also dozens of records in countries such as Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. Cambodia is one of the newly affected countries.
The new virus probably originated from a market in Wuhan, where it probably spread to humans from wild animals traded there. China has taken drastic measures to combat further expansion: in Hubei province, more than 45 million people have largely been isolated from the outside world. Long-distance and local traffic have been stopped.