CDC warns against traveling to China amid coronavirus outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that people avoid travel to China amid an ongoing viral outbreak that’s sickened thousands of people and killed more than 100 in the country.

Authorities said the 2019 novel coronavirus was first identified last month in Wuhan, China. It's since spread to nearly three dozen other countries, including the United States, where health officials have confirmed five cases of the viral infection.

In a travel health notice issued Monday, CDC officials recommended travelers "avoid all nonessential travel to China," noting that authorities in the country have closed several transportation hubs in an effort to control the spread of the virus.

“Additional restrictions and cancellations of events may occur,” health officials noted, adding that in affected areas, “there is limited access to adequate medical care.”

Chinese authorities announced last week that crews were rushing to build a 1,000-bed hospital to help alleviate overcrowding at hospitals in Wuhan, a city with a population topping 11 million. Officials expect to complete construction on the 270,000-square-foot lot by Feb. 3, The Associated Press reported.

Officials with the CDC said Tuesday that the risk posed by the coronavirus in the U.S. remained low. Five people have been confirmed as infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus: one in Washington, one in Illinois, two in California and one in Arizona.

The virus hasn't spread from human-to-human in the U.S., though officials in Germany, Japan and Vietnam have reported human transmission of the coronavirus.

"Risk is dependent on exposure and some people will have greater risk of infection," according to the CDC. "While it’s possible that some person-to-person spread with this virus may be detected in the United States, the goal of the ongoing U.S. public health response is to contain this outbreak and prevent sustained spread in this country."

As of Tuesday, more than 100 people have died and more than 4,500 have been confirmed ill in China due to coronavirus, according to the AP. Officials recommend that any people who have recently traveled to Wuhan and subsequently experienced flu-like symptoms -- including fever, coughing, shortness of breath or a sore throat -- contact their health care providers.

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