Chinese authorities have temporarily banned travellers arriving from Belgium and Britain citing concerns over the growing spread of the coronavirus in those countries.
“People from Belgium holding valid Chinese visas and residence permits for work, private affairs and groups will be temporarily suspended from entering China,” a statement of the Embassy of China in Belgium reads.
“The Chinese Embassy in Belgium will not issue a ‘Statement of Health’ for the above-mentioned people,” the embassy wrote on Wednesday.
A similar message announcing a temporary ban of entry into the territory of “non-Chinese nationals in the UK holding visas or residence permits still valid at the time of this announcement,” was posted by Beijing diplomatic’s post in Britain.
Both bans will exempt diplomats or holders or service, courtesy or type-C visas, both embassies noted, adding that foreign nationals who needed to enter China for an emergency could still apply for emergency visas.
“The suspension is a temporary response necessitated by the current situation of Covid-19,” the embassies wrote.
The ban comes nearly a year after the new coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, before spiralling into the current deadly pandemic.
An intensive test and tracing strategy, wider public use of data-processing apps, as well as rapid decisions to lock down the economy and restrict the free movement of citizens, has allowed China to bring the epidemic largely under control.
Beijing on Wednesday also announced it was tightening entry conditions for travellers from the United States, Canada, Germany, France and Singapore.
Both Chinese and foreign nationals arriving from those countries must take two screening tests (a PCR or swab test and a serological or antibody test) two days before boarding and have the tests validated by a Chinese embassy.