U.S. allows government staff to leave Hong Kong over coronavirus worries

FILE PHOTO: Volunteers in protective suits help a man with registration at a checkpoint of a residential compound, following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 9, 2020. Picture taken February 9, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. government employees and their family members from Hong Kong in light of the outbreak of a deadly coronavirus, the State Department said on Tuesday.

According to a department spokesperson the authorization was made “out of an abundance of caution related to uncertainties associated” with the disease. Departure is not required and the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong remains open to the public.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama