China Temporarily Closes Its Borders To Foreign Nationals

Nellie Chapman
March 27, 2020

"In view of the rapid spread of the new coronavirus epidemic worldwide, China has made a decision to temporarily suspend entry of foreigners with now valid visas and residence permits in China", the ministry said.

The move is the latest in a string of tough steps by the Chinese government to combat the virus, which first appeared in the city of Wuhan late past year and has spread widely since. It also limited flights to passenger load factors of 75% or lower.

Many Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai have already imposed a compulsory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals from overseas.

China's aviation authority had already taken measures to stem arrivals from other countries.

"Foreign nationals coming to China for necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities or out of emergency humanitarian needs may apply for visas at Chinese embassies or consulates", it added.

Foreigners holding any type of visa or residence permit will be denied entry apart from those with diplomatic, service, courtesy, or C visas.

China will stay in close touch with all sides and properly handle personnel exchanges with the rest of the world under the special circumstances.

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As many as 90 per cent of these are Chinese nationals, said Vice-Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui yesterday.

Despite the rising number of cases, most people who contract the virus suffer only mild symptoms before making a recovery.

The announcement comes after a spike in imported coronavirus cases in the country this week, prompting the authorities to implement new controls to prevent a resurgence of infections.

After getting its domestic Covid-19 outbreak under control, China's attention has shifted this month to preventing a potential "second wave" of the epidemic from washing over the country via worldwide arrivals at airports.

However, it's worth noting that the vast majority of these cases do not involve foreign nationals.

China had been gradually tightening screening and quarantining of inbound passengers.

The "leading group" overseeing China's response, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, met on Thursday and called for tougher preventative measures at borders, state media reported.

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