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CDC upgrades travel notices for South Korea, Italy, Iran amid COVID-19 outbreaks

Posted at 2:39 PM, Feb 26, 2020

ATLANTA, Ga. – The Centers for Disease Control has upgraded its travel notices for some of the countries battling outbreaks of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

The CDC said Wednesday that there’s now a level 3 travel warning in place for South Korea, meaning that you should avoid non-essential travel there. The country is experiencing the largest outbreak outside of China, with more than 1,000 cases reported, CBS News reports.

People who must travel to South Korea should take precautions and travelers who feel ill when they return to the U.S. should seek medical advice. They should also call before they go to the doctor’s office or emergency room to tell them about their travel history and symptoms.

Also on Wednesday, the CDC said there’s now a level 2 travel alert in place for Italy and Iran. With this alert, travelers to these countries are advised to practice enhanced precautions.

The CDC says older people and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel to Italy and Iran, because they’re at greater risk of severe illness.

If you must go to South Korea, Italy or Iran, the CDC says to discuss travel in advance with your healthcare provider, avoid contact with sick people, don’t touch your face with unwashed hands, and to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with 60-95% alcohol.

These travel notices are in addition to the level three warning already in effect for China. The CDC recommends that travelers avoid non-essential travel to the Asian country, where COVID-19 is believed to have originated. That does not include Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan.

There’s also a level 2 travel notice in effect for Japan, which is experiencing sustained community transmission of COVID-19.

These heightened travel notices come a day after the CDC said it appears inevitable that COVID-19 will begin to spread in United States communities and that Americans should prepare for that reality.

As of Wednesday, the worldwide death toll from the coronavirus stands at more than 2,700, CNN reports. The first case of the virus has now been reported in Brazil, meaning the illness has spread to every continent except Antarctica.

Click here to learn more about COVID-19.