Coronavirus: Countries Step Up Travel Restrictions to Stop Outbreak

  • The Philippines did not ban Chinese tourists, but they will have to do tests to check for the nCoV virus.
  • France, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan are planning to bring citizens out of Wuhan.
  • The US State Department is sending a plane to Wuhan to pick up consular staff to take them to San Francisco.

The Philippines has stopped issuing visas on the spot to reduce Chinese tourist delegations, due to concerns about the virus causing pneumonia. However, it did not ban tourists from the country. “We are now temporarily suspending the issuance of VUA for Chinese nationals to slow down the influx of group tours,” Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement today.

The 2019 novel coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus causing the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. The first suspected cases were officially reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.

Morente added that the Philippines did not ban Chinese tourists, but they will have to do tests to check for the nCoV virus causing acute pneumonia. The Chinese make up 20% of the tourists in the Philippines. Meanwhile, the Philippine Civil Aviation Administration has suspended direct flights from the city of Wuhan, where the outbreak originated. China said 106 people have been killed, and 4,515 were positive for the n-CoV virus. An additional 7,000 were awaiting testing.

“We are taking this proactive measure to slow down travel, and possibly help prevent the entry of the 2019-nCov,” Morente added. China announced it will extend the Lunar New Year holiday by an additional three days to prevent the spread of acute pneumonia. The National Health Commission said the nCoV virus is transmitted mainly through the respiratory tract, when infected people cough and sneeze, and through contact. The incubation period is usually between 3-7 days, and up to 14 days.

Germany, Canada, and Sri Lanka have just confirmed their first cases of the n-CoV virus. France, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan are planning to bring citizens out of Wuhan. Cho Ray Hospital today said Chinese patients with Wuhan pneumonia were negative for the n-CoV virus and could soon be discharged.

Foreigners Languish in Waiting in Wuhan

Coronaviruses are species of virus belonging to the subfamily Coronavirinae in the family Coronaviridae, in the order Nidovirales. There are seven known strains of human coronaviruses, including Wuhan Coronavirus.

Foreigners at the center of the Wuhan outbreak said they were running out of food, and looking forward to returning home. The Chinese government has banned all movement to and from Hubei Province as well as Wuhan City, the provincial capital, where the first case of the new Coronavirus (nCoV) pneumonia was discovered. From there, it spread throughout China and to many other countries. Several major Chinese cities have also issued travel restrictions to contain the disease.

Thousands of foreign students live in Wuhan, a bustling trading center in central China, where the steel and automobile industry is developing. In the context of Wuhan, however, schools, and state agencies are closed. Siti Mawaddah, a student from Hubei University, describes the city now as “just like a ghost town.”

The US State Department is sending a plane to Wuhan to pick up consular staff to take them to San Francisco, but warns the flight is not enough room for about 1,000 US citizens living in the city. Diana Adama, an American teacher living in Wuhan, said she was disappointed by the lack of information related to the disease, but insisted she would not leave the city on a government flight.

France is also planning to evacuate citizens stuck in Hubei by bus. French carmaker PSA announced it was building a plan to evacuate company employees and their relatives to quarantine in a neighboring province. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, plans to bring 150 students from China back in the next two days. In the context that China is increasing travel restrictions across the country, including Beijing and Shanghai, foreign countries have urged citizens to stay away from Wuhan.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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