China closes border to foreign travelers

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China has announced that it will ban all foreign nationals from entering its borders in order to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.

China has announced a travel ban on all foreign nationals, including those holding a work visa or residence permit.

Foreign nationals seeking entry to China "for necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities or out of emergency humanitarian needs" can still apply at its embassies and consulates, the notice said.

While the global pandemic originated in China months ago, the epicentre has shifted to other regions of the world, hitting southern Europe and some of the biggest U.S. cities hard.

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 a year ago and has spread widely since. It has infected more than 440,000 people and killed more than 20,000 outside of China.

While the country has not registered any locally transmitted cases for two days in a row, the number of inbound infections has climbed to 541.

For more than a week, China has said a majority of its new coronavirus cases have come from overseas, AP reports. The province's capital of Wuhan will end restrictions on travel on April 8.

"Each Chinese airline is only allowed to maintain one route to any specific country with no more than one flight per week", it reads, while "each foreign airline is only allowed to maintain one route to China with no more than one weekly flight". It will also limit the number of flights to one per week, effective March 29.

The Chinese Civil Aviation Administration yesterday also ordered airlines to cap their passenger load at 75 per cent, while allowing them to use passenger planes for cargo-only flights.

About 80 percent of global flights were already being canceled prior to the announcement, but Chinese airlines had been asked not to cut their worldwide routes until the CAAC issued its order. Previously, Shanghai had not been quarantining people without symptoms arriving from locations deemed to be low risk.



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