The United States has four levels of travel advisory and as of today (January 31, 2020), the US State Department has now placed China at a Level 4 travel advisory – their highest alert level. This means “do not travel” there in light of the coronavirus.
The US has now moved their travel advisory for mainland China from Level 3 (reconsider travel) to Level 4 which says “Do not travel.” This comes on the heal of the World Health Organization issuing a statement that the new coronavirus is a “public health emergency of international concern.”
Here is what the State Department says about travel to China at this time:
“Do not travel to China due to novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. On January 30, the World Health Organization has determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.Commercial carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China.
Those currently in China should consider departing using commercial means. The Department of State has requested that all non-essential U.S. government personnel defer travel to China in light of the novel coronavirus.
In an effort to contain the novel coronavirus, the Chinese authorities have suspended air, road, and rail travel in the area around Wuhan and placed restrictions on travel and other activities throughout the country. On January 23, 2020, the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their family members from Wuhan. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Hubei province.”
If you are interested in learning more about the virus and precautions you should take, you can also check out the CDC website.
CHARTERING FLIGHTS BACK TO USA
I trust you’ve seen the news so I won’t go into detail but it appears the virus is spreading to other countries and to people who had not even visited China.
The US government even chartered a 747 plane from the affected zone back to the US the other day as part of a health evacuation.
It goes without saying that this is a terrible situation. We’ve seen many countries confirm cases of coronavirus and restrict entry for transit from China over the last few days. Hopefully, the world’s health organizations can get a handle on this virus soon.
As I’ve written in a few other posts, if you have travel scheduled to terminate in or connect through China, check with your airline for their waivers that they have in place. For those that have travel with the big “US3,” this should get your started…
It appears that these waivers allow for travel to be changed all the way into March. I would guess that they will extend this if the need arises, however, I trust the airlines are going to make this a bigger headache than it really needs to be so they’ll only give you one chance to change your itinerary. Understanding you may only have one shot, unless your travel itinerary is extremely soon, I would wait to see if they extend it even further.
Has anyone had to change their flights to/through China with any airline? What has been your experience?