BEIJING               -      The U.S. advised against all travel to China as the number of cases of a worrying new virus spiked more than tenfold in a week, including the highest death toll in a 24-hour period reported Friday.

The virus has infected almost 10,000 people globally in just two months, a worrying sign of its spread among people that prompted the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak a global emergency.

The State Department’s travel advisory told Americans currently in China to consider departing using commercial means, and requested that all non-essential U.S. government personnel defer travel in light of the virus. China as of Friday morning counted 9,692 confirmed cases with a death toll of 213, including 43 new fatalities. The vast majority of the cases have been in Hubei province and its provincial capital, Wuhan, where the first illnesses were detected in December. No deaths have been reported outside China.

The National Health Commission reported 596 cases have been “cured and discharged from hospital.” WHO noted most people who got the illness had milder cases, though 20% experienced severe symptoms. Symptoms of the new coronavirus include fever and cough and in severe cases, shortness of breath and pneumonia.

Meanwhile, China’s foreign ministry said it will send charter flights to bring home residents of Hubei from overseas. It gave few details, but said those from Hubei and especially Wuhan would be sent directly back as soon as possible in light of the “practical difficulties” they were encountering. China has placed more than 50 million people in the region under virtual quarantine, while foreign countries, companies and airlines have cut back severely on travel to China and quarantined those who recently passed through Wuhan. The virus is believed to have a two-week incubation period, during which those infected can pass on the illness even if they show no symptoms such as fever and cough.

Since China informed WHO about the new virus in late December, 18 countries have reported cases, as scientists race to understand how exactly the virus is spreading and how severe it is. Experts say there is significant evidence the virus is spreading among people in China and WHO noted with its emergency declaration Thursday it was especially concerned that some cases abroad also involved human-to-human transmission. It defines an international emergency as an “extraordinary event” that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response.