China to suspend entry to most foreigners beginning this Saturday

Clay Curtis
March 27, 2020

In view of the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the world, China has made a decision to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits still valid to the time of this announcement, effective from 0:00 a.m. on March 28, 2020, a statement jointly released by Chinese Foreign Ministry and the National Immigration Administration said. It also limited flights to passenger load factors of 75% or lower.

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

C visas are given to foreigners who provide worldwide transportation services.

Stricter measures will also be taken to curb the spread of the virus on flights arriving or leaving the country and to ensure that passenger load factor is lower than 75 percent, the CAAC said, adding that it might further slash global flights if necessary.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Immigration said in a notice posted online Thursday that diplomats, plane or vessel crews, and select others with specific types of visas would be exempted.

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

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 National Health Commission announced 81,285 diagnosed cases and 3,287 deaths from the virus known as COVID-19. The number of domestically transmitted cases had fallen to near zero.

The country has not reported any new domestic COVID-19 infections for two consecutive days but officials have raised concerns about the number of imported cases, which have now surpassed 500.

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. All passengers coming to China from overseas are required to be tested for the coronavirus.

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