Korean travellers at an airport in San Francisco on Sunday. SIPA USA/PA Images

Coronavirus: Department of Foreign Affairs advises Irish people in China to leave if their presence is 'not essential'

A new updated warning advises people to “avoid non-essential” travel.

LAST UPDATE | Feb 4th 2020, 7:32 PM

THE DEPARTMENT OF Foreign Affairs has this evening urged any Irish people in China whose presence in the country “is not essential” to contact their airlines or travel agency to organise a travel out of the nation. 

The DFA has this evening updated its travel advice to Irish people considering going to the country. A new updated warning advises people to “avoid non-essential” travel. 

It reads: “In Hubei, where the situation is still developing, increasingly strong containment measures are coming online. Travel within the province has become tightly controlled and all tourist facilities have been closed. Under these circumstances, Irish citizens are advised not to travel to the province of Hubei.

“If your continued presence in China is not essential, the Department advises citizens to contact their travel agency or airlines regarding available routes out before any further restrictions may be imposed.”

Earlier today, it emerged that UK citizens who are “able to leave” China are being advised to do so by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

The coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan in December 2019. The death toll in mainland China from the virus has risen to 427 people as of today, with the total number of confirmed cases standing at 20,626. 

The FCO has advised against “all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China”, not including Hong Kong and Macao. 

The Guardian reports that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the FCO will “continue to work around the clock” to help those in Hubei to be evacuated from the province. 

The Chinese government is continuing to impose further restrictions on movemenets within the country in response to the outbreak. 

There have been no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus so far in Ireland. 28 cases have been reported so far in Europe. 

Yesterday, China opened a new hospital built in 10 days to take in additional patients affected by the virus. 

On Sunday, a man in the Phillipines became the first person outside of China to die from the outbreak.  

With reporting by Garreth MacNamee

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