UPDATE: Five Countries Now Restricting Visas for Chinese Nationals Due to Coronavirus
Wuhan virus: Singapore and Philippines impose entry and visa restrictions for people from Hubei
Two more countries have announced travel restrictions for Chinese nationals in a bid to control the spreading of Coronavirus into their territories.
After Kazakhstan, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka, the three first countries restricting visas for Chinese nationals, the Philippines followed by suspending the issuance of visas on arrival to Chinese nationals, in a bid to ensure the country remains free of the virus.
“We are taking this proactive measure to slow down travel, and possibly help prevent the entry of the Virus,” said the commissioner of the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration Jaime Morente.
Immediately after the Philippines, the Singaporean authorities have announced they will stop entry or transit for new visitors who have traveled to the Hubei region in China within the last two weeks, as well as holders of Chinese passports granted in Hubei.
The restrictions started applying today, as the Ministry of Health announced the number of cases infected with the virus in Singapore has reached 10. Cases have also been confirmed in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Nepal, and the United States.
Three Asian Countries Restrict Visas for Chinese Citizens Due to Coronavirus
Kazakhstan, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka are the three first countries that have moved to restrict visas for Chinese nationals after an outbreak of the Coronavirus in the world’s most populous country.
Malaysia was the first to make a move on Monday, January 27, suspending the granting of visas to all residents of the Hubei province in China.
Through a press release of the Prime Minister’s Office, Malaysia announced that immigration privileges such as entry without a visa, visa on arrival, e-visa and manual visa will be temporarily suspended for Chinese nationals from Wuhan and Hubei province until further notice.
At the same time, Sri Lanka decided to suspend granting visas on arrival to Chinese citizens after Sri Lankan health authorities detected the first person with Coronavirus in the country, who was a woman coming from China.
“She arrived on January 19 and was tested positive for the virus when she was leaving the airport on January 25. She was admitted to the infectious diseases hospital,” the chief epidemiologist of Sri Lanka Sudath Suraweera announced on Tuesday.
Unlike Malaysia, Sri Lanka has not suspended all visa types to Chinese nationals. Instead, Chinese passport holders wishing to enter Malaysia now have to apply through the online portal of the government.
Kazakhstan as well has decided to stop granting visas on arrival to Chinese nationals due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
The Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Shukhrat Nuryshev told local reporters that while there are no plans to completely close the border with neighboring China, its authorities will require medical certificates from Chinese citizens seeking visas to Kazakhstan.
All three countries have nationals living in China, and currently trying to bring them back home, while attempting to not trigger an outbreak of the virus in their own territories.
The government of Kazakhstan has asked Beijing to allow 98 Kazakh students to leave the city of Wuhan, which has been locked down as the epicenter of the outbreak.
Moreover, there are about 1,400 Kazakhs currently in China, about half of which tourists at the resorts of Hainan.
Whereas Sri Lanka has already returned about 65 of its nationals in China, all of them students, on Monday. About 204 Sri Lankan students have been evacuated so far, while another flight is scheduled to leave on Tuesday.
The spread of the Coronavirus has so far claimed 81 lives and infected more than 2,700 people, half of which are from the region of Hubei.
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