The Chinese Embassy in the UK announced that from Thursday, November 5, all non-Chinese nationals traveling from the UK will be denied entry to China even if they previously held residence permits or visas. The blanket ban on entry into China comes amid a month-long UK coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related lockdown which will be in effect until December 2. Entry by holders of diplomatic, service, courtesy, or C visas will not be affected. Foreign nationals visiting China for emergency purposes will need to apply for a visa at the Chinese Embassies or one of its Consulates. The suspension reverses a September 28 partial easing of travel restrictions into the country for non-nationals with resident permits.
Additionally, from Friday, November 6, all passengers traveling to the mainland from the US, France, Germany, and Thailand will be required to take a nucleic acid test and a blood test for antibodies within 48 hours prior to travel. The same measures will apply for travelers transiting through Chinese airports to destinations abroad.
As of November 5, there have been 91,509 reported cases of COVID-19 in China with 4740 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan. Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or a rash on the skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay. To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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