By Faruk Zorlu
ANKARA (AA) - Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Turkey on Monday urged its citizens not to travel China unless it is necessary.
"It is highly recommended that our citizens do not travel to China unless it is necessary and if they travel there, they should stay away from the regions where the [coronavirus] cases are seen, especially in Hubei province," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
With pneumonia-like symptoms, coronavirus in the Hubei province has become a nationwide threat to public health, with the number of cases rising, it added.
Turkish citizens who live in China and have to travel to other parts of the country should follow health precautions, it said.
They should follow "closely" the statements and warnings of Turkey's Embassy in Beijing, consulates in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and China, and the World Health Organization.
The virus, which originated in the city of Wuhan, has spread across 29 provinces in the country.
More than 30 cases have been reported in Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Thailand, the U.S., Singapore, France, Malaysia, Australia, and Vietnam.
Chinese authorities on Sunday announced plans to extend the Lunar New Year holiday, which was originally set to end on Jan. 30.
Travelers from China are being screened for the virus at airports worldwide, and many airlines have suspended flights to Wuhan.
At a meeting last Thursday the World Health Organization (WHO) postponed a decision on declaring the outbreak a health emergency, saying it needed more information about the virus.