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Travel Alert - Coronavirus Outbreak January 2020

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CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

As of 27 January 2020, there have been more than 2,750 cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) reported across at least 30 provinces in China, while additional cases have been confirmed in at least 13 other countries, including: Australia (5), Cambodia (1), Canada (1), France (3), Japan (4), Malaysia (4), Nepal (1) Singapore (4), South Korea (4), Taiwan (4), Thailand (8), Vietnam (2) and the U.S. (5). At least 81 people have died from the virus thus far.

In China, the travel ban has been extended to central China and covers at least 15 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an and Tianjin, placing approximately 56 million people under lockdown.

The Chinese government has extended the Lunar New Year holiday by three days to 02 February, while Hong Kong has extended its school holiday until 17 February.

Numerous governments are preparing to evacuate private citizens and diplomatic personnel from Wuhan/ Hubei Province, including Australia, France, India, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.

A number of airlines have implemented travel waivers for passengers wanting refunds and free changes to ticketed flights to and from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau while other airlines are suspending flights or retiming their schedules to reduce overnight layovers in China. Cathay Pacific is allowing its crew and front line staff to use face masks in order to add a barrier of protection against the disease.

Meanwhile, Egypt has suspended all flights to/from China, including Chinese tour groups scheduled to visit the country over the coming months while the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising against all travel to Hubei province and Malaysia is not issuing visas to Chinese travellers coming from the epicentre of the outbreak.

Hong Kong has announced the suspension of the high-speed rail service between the city and mainland China effective 30 January while all cross-border ferry services will also be suspended. In addition, the number of flights from Hong Kong are to be halved and personal travel permits for mainland Chinese to travel to Hong Kong will be suspended.

The following Chinese tourist sites have been closed for an indefinite period in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus:

  • Forbidden City in Beijing
  • Terracotta Warriors in Xian
  • Yu Garden in Shanghai
  • Great Wall at Jinshanling in Beijing
  • Great Wall (Mutianyu Section) in Beijing
  • The Ming Tombs in Beijing
  • Gubei Water Town in Beijing
  • Prince Gong's Mansion in Beijing
  • Forest of Stone Steles Museum in Xian
  • The Ancient City Walls in Xian
  • Shaanxi History Museum(Closed on Monday) in Xian
  • Wuzheng and most sites in Hangzhou
  • Huangpu River Cruise in Shanghai
  • Mogao Caves in Dunhuang

Additional site closures are likely to be added to this list and re-opening arrangements will be communicated by authorities once the outbreak has been contained and eliminated.

For ease of reference, the following website is tracking developments relating to the Coronavirus in real time:

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