CDC issues heightened travel warning for South Korea

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning against travel to South Korea because of the continued spread of the coronavirus worldwide. 

On Monday, the CDC issued a “level 3” advisory, which warns to “avoid nonessential travel” to the East Asian country. The federal agency issued a similar level 3 warning for travel to China Saturday due to “widespread community transmission,” excluding Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.

Similarly, the U.S. State Department issued a level 2 travel advisory (“exercise increased caution”) Saturday for South Korea over the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this month, the State Department issued a level 4 travel advisory (“do not travel”) – its most severe warning – for all of China.

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A woman wearing a face mask passes by a Seoul bus station bearing posters with precautions against the new coronavirus on Tuesday.

According to Johns Hopkins data, South Korea has 893 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus as of Monday evening, second only to 77,658 cases in Mainland China, where the first cases of the infection were identified.

More than 2,663 people have died due to the virus — most in the Hubei province of mainland China. Eight people have died in South Korea.

The CDC advises those who must travel to South Korea to stay away from sick people, wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with 60% to 95% alcohol and avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.

The CDC recommends anyone who spent time in South Korea in the last two weeks and is now feeling sick with a fever, cough or has difficulty breathing — all symptoms of coronavirus — seek medical attention; cover mouth and nose with tissue or a sleeve when coughing or sneezing; and not travel, among other precautions.

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