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Irish people now advised to avoid entire province of Hubei due to coronavirus

The Department of Foreign Affairs has advised people to avoid the province of Hubei.

A Chinese medical worker checking the temperature of a man.
A Chinese medical worker checking the temperature of a man.

THE AREA IRISH citizens are being advised to avoid in China has been expanded from one city to an entire province by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) today. 

The department has extended its advice on visiting China today to avoid the entire province of Hubei, an area of around 185,000 kilometres squared. It has a population of nearly 60 million people. 

Previously, the department had advised people against visiting just Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in an area of around 8,500 kilometres squared. This is where the disease emerged in December.  

A spokesperson for the DFA said the department “continues to closely monitor the situation in China, and is in ongoing contact with the Chinese authorities and the World Health Organisation”. 

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and our Embassy in Beijing is in ongoing contact with EU Member States and other relevant countries and is exploring options, including commercial options, for assisting Irish citizens to leave Hubei Province, if required.

“The embassy is in contact with Irish citizens in the Hubei province regarding their intentions,” the spokesperson said.

It is understood that there are not a significant amount of Irish people living in this province. 

hubei china Highlighted is the province of Hubei in China. Source: Google Maps

“We would encourage any other Irish citizens in Hubei Province, who require assistance, to contact Ireland’s Embassy in Beijing,” the spokesperson said. 

A high degree of caution was issued last week by the DFA for travelling to China. This remains in place. 

The department said that although the risk of travellers or foreign residents contracting the disease in China is low, there is a “strong likelihood” that travel could be disrupted” by government containment measures.

“In the circumstances travellers are advised against visiting the province of Hubei, if possible. Travel, within China, may be disrupted by increased containment measures employed by the Chinese government,” the DFA website says. 

More than 80 people have died so far from the coronavirus since December. Nearly 2,800 people have been infected and it has spread to a dozen or so countries. 

People in the Hubei region are warned to observe food safety and wear single-use masks. Regularly washing your hands with an alcohol-based soap is also strongly recommended by the World Health Organisation. 

China’s health minister Ma Xiaowei said travel restrictions and other strict measures should bring results “at the lowest cost and fastest speed”. Xiaowei warned today that the virus seemed to be spreading more easily. 

France is the only European country with confirmed cases of the virus. Three people are known to be affected by the outbreak. France will be flying home its citizens who wish to leave Wuhan later this week, the French government announced today. 

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With reporting by AFP.  

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