China, the country where the coronavirus pandemic is believed to have begun late last year, put in place new temporary bans on travelers coming from a handful of countries still struggling to curb the spread of the virus within their borders.
According to Reuters, countries affected by the new regulations include the U.K., France, Belgium, India and the Philippines.
The U.K. and France have both detected a spike in coronavirus deaths this week that rivals the figures counted in the springtime along with surges in hospitalizations related to the virus, while Belgium is the European country with the most new cases per capita.
India ranks second worldwide in terms of total confirmed cases and third in deaths attributed to the virus according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The Philippines is battling Southeast Asia’s second-worst coronavirus outbreak, though with just more than 1,500 new cases confirmed Thursday, it appears to be much better off than the other nations barred by China.
Affected travelers will include all non-Chinese citizens, even those with long-term residency permits according to media reports, but the Chinese embassy in London said emergency visas may be applied for by nationals of other countries.
The U.S. does not appear to fall under the ban, though it has one of the fastest-growing coronavirus infection rates in the world and is the worst affected in terms of confirmed cases and deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
“China has referred to the practices of many countries and adjusted its approach to relevant people coming to China based on changes in the pandemic situation,” CNN quoted Wang Wenbin, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, as saying. “This is reasonable and consistent with international practice, and I believe people can understand it.”
The coronavirus pandemic is believed to have originated in Wuhan, a city in China. While China was the first country to battle the virus, it has reportedly largely contained the spread as it has reported only double-digit new daily coronavirus case figures for months, while other nations count tens of thousands. According to Johns Hopkins University, China has reported just more than 91,000 total cases and less than 5,000 deaths, though some have questioned the country’s self-reported figures.
In COVID clampdown, China bars travellers from Britain, France, India (Reuters)
China will ban travelers from Belgium, India, the Philippines and the UK in response to Covid-19 (CNN)
France And United Kingdom Report Most Covid Deaths Since Spring (Forbes)