UK advises against 'all but essential' travel to mainland China after virus outbreak

FILE PHOTO: A woman wears a face mask as she crosses a road in the Chinatown area of Manchester, Britain January 27 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble

(Reuters) - Britain on Tuesday advised against “all but essential” travel to mainland China due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“The FCO continue to advise against all travel to Hubei Province, and now advise against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao)”, Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said on Tuesday.

The Foreign Office also said it was working to arrange for evacuation of British nationals from Hubei, which is under a transport lockdown in a bid to contain the virus.

Sky News reported that about 300 British citizens were still in Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province, and a charter flight was set to fly them out on Thursday.

The virus has thus far killed 106 people, infected over 4,500 others, stranded tens of millions during the Lunar New Year holiday and rattled global markets.

Reporting by Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese and Rosalba O’Brien