Issued by US Department of State
May 07, 2003
This Travel Warning is being revised to inform U.S. citizens of updated requirements of the government of China for anyone exhibiting Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS-like symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of State continue to recommend U.S. citizens consider deferring non-essential travel to China because of SARS concerns. This supersedes the Travel Warning of April 16, 2003.
As a precautionary measure due to the SARS situation, in early April, the Department of State authorized the departure, on a voluntary basis, of non-emergency employees and all family members at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the U.S. Consulates General in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenyang. The Embassy and all Consulates General remain open to provide the full range of services to American citizens and the general public. The Department of State also alerts Americans to China's current practices with respect to SARS. These are subject to change. Authorities in some areas have announced stringent new quarantine measures, which could result in the isolation of large numbers of people or entire neighborhoods. Inspection teams conduct health checks at the airports, railway stations, long-distance bus terminals and highway checkpoints. SARS related restrictions on internal travel and even international border closings have been announced and are subject to change on a daily basis. Any individual in China, including foreigners, who displays SARS-related symptoms may be sent to a designated hospital until the SARS' contagious phase has passed. In some locations the patient may not be able to receive visitors, including his/her own doctor or family members.
All of these factors, in addition to continuing uncertainties about how SARS is spread and concerns about obtaining suitable medical care and/or evacuating those who contract SARS, led to the Department's decision to authorize the voluntary departure of official non-emergency employees and all family members from China.
The CDC recommends U.S. citizens defer elective or non-essential travel to areas with a large number of SARS cases, including Mainland China. U.S. citizens resident or traveling in these areas should closely monitor the website of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov and the website of the World Health Organization at http://www.who.int for the latest information on SARS.
For further information on travel to China, U.S. citizens should also consult the Consular Information Sheets for China and the SARS Public Announcement at http://travel.state.gov.