March 18, 2020 / 8:11 AM / in 17 days

Some U.S. embassies suspend routine visa services over coronavirus

SEOUL (Reuters) - A number of U.S. embassies around the world will suspend routine visa services due to coronavirus precautions, the U.S. Embassy in South Korea said in a statement on Wednesday.

The suspension will affect both immigrant and non-immigrant visa services at embassies in countries with a U.S. State Department travel advisory level of 2, 3, or 4, the statement said.

As of Wednesday that includes around 100 countries for which warnings have been issued, according to the U.S. State Department website. Reasons for those warnings range from outbreaks of the new coronavirus to war to crime.

In South Korea, which has seen the largest number of infections in Asia outside of China, embassy appointments will be cancelled from Thursday.

Emergency appointments and U.S. citizen services will still be available.

“We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time,” the statement said.

There are almost 200,000 cases of coronavirus across 164 countries and territories, a Reuters tally at 0200 GMT on Wednesday showed. Over 8,400 deaths have been reported.

Seeking to stem the spread of the virus, the United States has banned the entry of foreigners who have travelled through China, Iran and Europe in the preceding two weeks.

South Korea has not been included in those restrictions but anyone with a fever of 38 degrees Celsius or 100.4 Fahrenheit is banned from boarding direct flights from South Korea to the United States.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday reported 4,275 cases of coronavirus, an increase of 739 cases from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 7 to 75.

Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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