As numbers of coronavirus infections continued to rise around the world, governments ramped up travel advisories for citizens and even travel bans on incoming travelers from affected countries.
The U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory for Italy to level three, urging citizens to reconsider all nonessential travel. Italy is the center of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak, with 888 confirmed cases.
Russian officials on Saturday urged citizens not to leave the country. Kuwaiti health officials have also discouraged traveling, as the small Gulf country grapples with 45 confirmed cases of the virus. Saudi Arabia likewise urged its citizens to cancel all nonessential travel to Lebanon, where four coronavirus cases have been confirmed.
“In order to consider yourself protected today, first of all, possible future trips outside the native country need to be reduced as much as possible,” Anna Popova, a Russian public health official, told local news affiliates, according to Reuters.
Kuwait has evacuated hundreds of citizens from Iran, the regional focal point of the virus outbreak in the Middle East. The two latest cases involved people who had entered Kuwait from Iran, according to the Kuwaiti health ministry.
Following the case of a woman who tested positive for the virus who had recently returned to Australia from Iran, the Australian government is imposing a travel ban on Iran to begin March 1.
After that date, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters Saturday, Australian travelers returning from Iran will be required to self-isolate for a period of 14 days after their arrival.
All non-citizens, non-permanent residents and those who are not family of Australian citizens and permanent residents will be denied entry into the country unless their departure from Iran occurred more than 14 days before their arrival date in Australia.
Travelers who fit this category will be required to spend 14 days in another country before being granted permission to enter Australia.
“There is likely at this stage a high level of undetected cases, and therefore those cases won’t be intercepted or identified on departure from Iran,” Hunt said.