RT, March 26, 2020
Citing the “rapid spread of Covid-19 across the world,” China has decided to temporarily suspend entry to almost all foreign nationals holding valid visas or residence permits, the foreign ministry in Beijing has announced.
“The suspension is a temporary measure that China is compelled to take in light of the outbreak situation and the practices of other countries,” the ministry said in a statement on Thursday evening. The ban will go into effect at midnight on Saturday, March 28.
All foreign nationals holding Chinese visas, as well as permanent residents, will be affected by the measure. Exemptions were made for diplomats and holders of service and crew visas.
The ministry said the move would be reviewed “in light of the evolving situation.”
In addition to the drastic travel ban, starting Sunday all airlines will be allowed just one weekly flight into and out of China, potentially stranding many Chinese nationals abroad.
Beijing was vocal in condemning US and other bans on travelers from China earlier this year, after Covid-19 was first detected in the city of Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province. The coronavirus has since spread rapidly around the world, however, with the World Health Organization (WHO) designating it a pandemic on March 11.
Of almost 500,000 cases registered across the world so far, China accounts for nearly 82,000. Italy has been the next hardest-hit country, with over 74,000 documented cases and more than 7,500 deaths.