WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department is advising all American citizens to "reconsider travel abroad" due to the virus pandemic.
The State Department website says the advisory to reconsider travel abroad was issued on Wednesday, shortly after President Trump addressed the nation Wednesday night from the Oval Office on the U.S. coronavirus response.
The Global Level 3 Health Advisory says U.S. citizens should reconsider international travel as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads worldwide.
The department encourages people to check for individual travel advisories online at travel.state.gov.
Federal officials say citizens should make sure to check with airlines or cruise lines for updated information on travel plans or restrictions, and follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to limit the virus' spread.
The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus a pandemic and is urging aggressive action from all countries to fight it.
Trump announced in his Oval Office address that he is sharply restricting European passenger travel to the U.S. and moving to ease the pandemic's economic costs. Soaring cases in the U.S. and Europe's status as the new epicenter of the pandemic underscore the challenge.
While Italy exceeds 12,000 cases and the United States has topped 1,300, China reported a record low of just 15 new cases. Three-fourths of its patients have recovered.
To put the coronavirus numbers into some context, millions of Americans get the flu every single year and there are thousands of flu deaths annually.
Since October 2019, the CDC estimates around 32 million Americans have gotten the flu. That’s one in every 10 Americans.