A man wearing protective gear guards in front of the compound under quarantine amid the lockdown in Puxi side of the city in Shanghai, China, on March 31. The United States' Department of State has asked non-emergency government personnel and their families to leave the Chinese city amid rising COVID-19 cases. Photo by Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE
April 12 (UPI) -- As COVID-19 cases surge in Shanghai, the United States' Department of State has asked non-emergency government personnel and their families to leave the Chinese city.
The State Department issued a statement Monday urging people to reconsider traveling to the People's Republic of China amid arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions.
The advisory also cautioned against traveling to Hong Kong's Special Administrative Region (SAR) and Jilin province, noting a risk of children being separated from parents.
China has expressed strong dissatisfaction with and "firmly opposes" the United State's "groundless accusation" of China's COVID-19 policy, according to a translated statement issued Saturday from foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Hong Kong. Level 4 is the highest COVID-19 notice level.
On Saturday, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in China said in a statement that the Consular Section in Shanghai is closed to the public due to local COVID-19 control measures.
Consulate staff will remain on site 24 hours a day to offer emergency services to U.S. citizens.
The United States issued a similar travel advisory on Friday allowing non-emergency government employees and families to leave Shanghai voluntarily.
In March, China reported its first COVID-19 deaths since early 2021 as cases of the Omicron variant significantly rose.
It was reported a month prior that the country of 1.4 billion people hadn't had a COVID-19 fatality since the start of last year.
The foreign business hub of Shanghai has seen over 130,000 cases since March 1.