As coronavirus cases spike worldwide, China is closing itself off

Hong Kong- China is closing its border to most foreigners amid fears of imported novel coronavirus cases causing a second outbreak in the country where the infection was first detected.

In a statement late Thursday, the government said that “in view of the rapid spread of Covid-19 across the world, China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits” as of March 28.

Anyone wishing to enter the country will have to apply for a new visa at their local Chinese embassy or consulate. The announcement did not say how long this would take.

The decision to effectively seal off the country to foreigners is the latest in a series of moves intended to safeguard against infection from international travel, after more than 500 imported cases of the coronavirus were confirmed.

On Monday, Beijing city authorities announced that all international arrivals would be quarantined and tested for the virus at designated government facilities. Other cities have implemented stringent home quarantine requirements on international arrivals. Last week, a Chinese Australian woman was deported after neighbors recorded her breaching isolation controls to go jogging.

The number of new domestic infections has slowed to a trickle in recent weeks. While Wuhan, the city previously at the epicenter of the outbreak, remains on lockdown, much of the rest of the country is returning to normal.

There are fears imported cases could lead to a renewed outbreak.

Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese city, already had to backtrack on relaxing restrictions after a spike in new infections, many of which were imported by international travelers.

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