Health and Travel Alert – U.S. Embassy Seoul, Republic of Korea

CDC Website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

February 4, 2020

Location: Republic of Korea

Event: Coronavirus Outbreak: Travel Restrictions and Safety Measures

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan, China and subsequently declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization (WHO).

For current information and guidance regarding this disease outbreak, U.S. citizens in the Republic of Korea (ROK) are advised to consult the WHO , CDC, and KCDC websites.  If you are currently in the ROK and are concerned that you may have symptoms or exposure to the corona virus, please call the Korea Center for Disease Control (KCDC) treatment hotlines at 1339 or 1345 (English).

U.S. Travel Restrictions and Presidential Proclamation

The U.S. Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services has declared that the coronavirus presents a Public Health Emergency in the United States.  In accordance with the declaration, beginning 5 p.m. EST, February 2, 2020, the U.S. government started implementing temporary measures to increase its abilities to detect and contain the coronavirus proactively and aggressively.  These measures include:

  • All flights with travelers who have been in China within the last 14 days will be routed through a select number of designated airports.
  • Any U.S. citizen returning to the U.S. who has been in Hubei province in the previous 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine.
  • Any U.S. citizen returning to the U.S. who has been in China in areas outside of Hubei province within the previous 14 days will undergo proactive entry health screening and up to 14 days of self-quarantine with health monitoring to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk.
  • Additionally, pursuant to his authority, the President has signed a Presidential Proclamation suspending the entry into the United States of most foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the 2019 novel coronavirus.
  • As a result, foreign nationals, other than certain specified family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled in China within the last 14 days will be denied entry into the United States.

For additional information, please see the Presidential Proclamation and The Department of Homeland Security’s information page.

Level 4 Travel Advisory for China – Do Not Travel

The United States advises U.S. citizens not to travel to China.  If you do travel to China, you will be subject to additional screening and public health measures upon return to the United States.  The U.S. Department of State will continue to closely monitor the situation in China and will revise our travel advisory as conditions warrant.  For additional information, refer to travel.state.gov.

Korean Government Actions and Entry Restrictions 

 As of February 4, the KCDC has confirmed 16 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the ROK.

The ROK government announced that effective February 4, it will prohibit non-Korean citizens with travel to Hubei province in the last 14 days to enter Korea.  In addition, the visa waiver program for visits to Jeju island will be suspended for all foreigners. The ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a level two (out of four) travel warning to travelers to all of China, including Hong Kong and Macau (but not Taiwan), on January 28. Hubei province is level three as of January 25.

Restrictions to ROK immigration and travel policies are subject to change. Please refer to the KCDC website for the most up-to-date policies.

 Other countries are also imposing travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.  The U.S. Embassy advises checking with destination government officials in advance of commencing travel, particularly if you have recently been in China.

Actions to Take:

  • Consult the CDC website, for the most up-to-date health information.
  • Check with the airlines regarding any flight cancellations and/or restrictions on flying.  Be aware that airline schedules are changing rapidly.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Seek medical care right away if you feel sick or were exposed to someone who has a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.

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