China bans entry of foreigners to curb coronavirus

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China's National Health Commission (NHC) said while no new domestically transmitted case of coronavirus was reported on the mainland on Wednesday, 67 new imported cases were recorded, up from 47 a day earlier.

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

Foreigners with diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas will reportedly not be affected by the policy, as well as those travelling to China for economic, trade, scientific, technological or humanitarian reasons.

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.

"The suspension is a temporary measure that China is compelled to take in light of the outbreak situation and the practices of other countries, "China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement released today". Other countries now struggling to bring the epidemic under control have relied more on shutting non-essential businesses and social distancing guidance. Such infections have accounted for the majority of China's new cases for more than a week.

There were almost 1,100 return worldwide passenger flights scheduled to come to China this week.

China's civil aviation authority on Thursday slashed incoming and outgoing flights to a maximum of one per airline per foreign country each week. The capital, Beijing, had already adopted a similar measure.

Each overseas carrier will be limited to one weekly flight to China, at three-quarters capacity, the regulator said.

"To resolutely contain the increasing risks of imported COVID-19 cases, and in accordance with the requirements of the State Council for joint prevention and control of the pandemic, [the regulator] has chose to further reduce the number of global passenger flights", the CAAC said. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A.

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