March 18, 2020 / 8:01 PM / 16 days ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. suspending visa services worldwide due to coronavirus - State Dept

(Updates with quotes, background, details)

WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) - The United States is suspending all routine immigrant and non-immigrant visa services as of Wednesday in most countries worldwide due to the coronavirus outbreak, a spokeswoman for the State Department said.

The spokeswoman did not mention which or how many countries are halting services but advised potential applicants to check for the websites of individual U.S. missions.

“Embassies and consulates in these countries will cancel all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 18, 2020,” the spokeswoman said.

She said U.S. missions abroad will continue to provide emergency visa services “as resources allow,” and that the services to U.S. citizens will remain available.

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

The fast-spreading disease that jumped from animals to humans in China has now infected over 212,000 people and caused 8,700 deaths in 164 nations, triggering emergency lockdowns and injections of cash unseen since World War Two.

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Sandra Maler and Diane Craft

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