Travel from the UK to the Chinese source city of the deadly coronavirus outbreak has effectively been banned.

Similar measures are due to be put in place in nearby Huanggang, a city of more than seven million people.

The FCO issued advice against all but essential travel to Wuhan in Hubei province as the number of victims of the disease rose to 17 with more than 500 believed to have contracted the new strain of virus.

The travel alert was issued last night due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Countries around the world have said they will be screening travellers for signs of infection.


MoreFCO issues travel advice after coronavirus cases in China


The FCO said: “Public Health England has offered advice to travellers. You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the local authorities.”

The new guidance came as Chinese authorities advised the 11 million people living in Wuhan not to leave in a bid to limit the spread of the virus.

The travel restrictions, including a temporary shutdown of public transport and flights, comes in a week when millions of Chinese plan to travel ahead of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday starting tomorrow (Friday).

While only about 500 cases have been confirmed, calculations by scientists at the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London suggest there are 4,000 people sick with the virus in Wuhan.

However, the World Health Organisation yesterday stopped short of declaring a global emergency over the virus – the highest level of alarm previously used in reaction to swine flu, the Zika virus and Ebola.

China state news agency Xinhua said tourist attractions and hotels in Wuhan had been told to suspend large-scale activities while libraries, museums and theatres were cancelling exhibitions and performances.

WHO director general Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus described the latest measures as “very strong” and said they would “not only control the outbreak, they will minimise spread internationally”.

The FCO also updated its travel advice for Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Taiwan, recommending travellers to comply with any additional screening measures put in place by local authorities.

Limited cases of the virus have been reported regionally in Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Taiwan as well as one in Seattle in the US.

China Southern Airlines had been running three flights a week between Wuhan and Heathrow before travel restrictions from the City were imposed.

The UK government started monitoring flights from Wuhan on Wednesday as part of a series of precautionary measures, with arriving aircraft isolated near Heathrow Terminal 4 to allow passengers to be monitored by health officials.

Public Health England said: “The enhanced monitoring of direct flights will be kept under continuous review and expanded to other Chinese departure points if necessary.

“Leaflets and information will be made available across all UK airports, advising travellers from China on what do to if they feel unwell.

“Based on the emerging evidence regarding case numbers, potential sources and human to human transmission, the risk to travellers to Wuhan is moderate.”