After Czech Republic, Greece Halts Visa Issuance in China Amid Coronavirus Epidemic
The Hellenic Republic has decided to close its visa centers in Mainland China, thus stop receiving applications and granting visas, after the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the city of Wuhan in Hubei, China.
Greece has become the second country, after the Czech Republic to undertake such measures, to prevent a spread of the virus within its territory, though sources of SchengenVisaInfo.com have previously warned that all European Union Member Countries may introduce such measures by next week.
The Greek Embassy in Beijing, China, has sent out a message to all travel agents in China, announcing the decision to halt visa issuance until Monday, February 9, 2020, at least.
“All visa application centers of Greece have suspended operation and that resumption of operations will be announced with a new notice,” the message reads.
The Embassy has previously recommended to all Greek citizens to limit travel to China, while instructing those already in China to avoid traveling, for any reason, to Hubei province and the other regions where travel has been restricted.
While there have been no detected cases of Coronavirus infections in Greece, a Thessaloniki resident who developed flu symptoms after returning home from Wuhan, China, has tested negative for the new coronavirus.
Greece’s move to suspend visa issuance in China confirms Wednesday’s report of SchengenVisaInfo.com that the European Union is preparing to tighten entry conditions for Chinese nationals and those who have traveled to China in recent months, in a bid to prevent the situation getting out of control.
“The block has already decided to activate the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, but if the virus keeps spreading at the current tempo, the EU may introduce entry restrictions by the end of the week to Chinese nationals and recent visitors to mainland China,” the source said, which information has now been confirmed after two countries have already undertaken such moves.
The source also said that the suspension of visa issuance for the nationals of a few countries in addition to China is also an option if the situation does not improve for the better.
The Chinese city of Wuhan, home of 11 million in residents, in the Hubei province is the epicenter of the disease, which as of January 23, 2020, has been shut down. Airports and railways in Wuhan have also shut down to prevent a further spread of the virus.
So far, the Coronavirus has expanded to almost 20 countries, while the death toll had reached over 220 people and about 10,000 cases have been reported.