China bars foreigners amid concerns of second virus wave

Beijing said it would temporarily suspend visits to almost all foreign nationals amid growing fears of those returning to China after the country relaxed travel restrictions, triggering a second wave of cases.

The new measures, announced Thursday by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, would prevent the entry of almost all visa and residence permit holders from Saturday. A small number of diplomatic visa holders would be exempt, the ministry said.

In its announcement, the department said it had “no alternative” to the new restriction given the mixed response to the pandemic in other countries. She did not mention the countries which she believed were at fault.

Beijing told a group of global health officials this week that it had been forced to rethink its policies after the moderation of its lockout triggered an influx of overseas travelers who could carry the virus, Anthony says. Fauci, member of the White House coronavirus task. Force.

“Our Chinese colleagues are very concerned,” said Fauci, who said the fears were raised during an appeal organized by the World Health Organization. “They have very, very little [new] cases, but what they start to see when they relax travel constraints, they get imported cases. “

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China reported for the first time last week that it had not registered any new cases of Covid-19 from local transmissions, and began to loosen internal travel restrictions, including to and from Hubei Province , at the origin of the coronavirus epidemic.

The Chinese figures, which include an official count of 81,285 cases, do not include positive tests for people who do not have symptoms, which questions some of its data.

However, Beijing’s decision to ban foreigners from returning to China raises fears that the global lockdown is not enough to stifle the epidemic, as it threatens to ignite once restrictions are lifted. President Donald Trump has expressed hope of ending blockages in the United States by Easter.

It also marks a notable change in the center of gravity of the global epidemic. Less than two months ago, several countries, including the United States and Italy, imposed similar restrictions on those traveling from China.

At the time, Beijing reacted angrily, saying it went against WHO indications that travel restrictions would hinder the flow of essential equipment and health workers.

“It is certainly not a gesture of goodwill”, The spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said of the United States’ January 31 decision to limit entry to travelers from China.

In announcing its new restrictions, China said that in addition to the exemption for diplomats, those seeking exemptions from the ban – including those who must come to China for urgent humanitarian reasons – must ask the advance an embassy or consulate abroad.

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