China has announced it will temporarily ban all foreign nationals from entering the nation as it seeks to curb the number of imported COVID-19 cases. Policies including port visas, 24/72/144-hour visa-free transit policy, Hainan 30-day visa-free policy, 15-day visa-free policy specified for foreign cruise-group-tour through Shanghai Port, Guangdong 144-hour visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups from Hong Kong or Macao SAR, and Guangxi 15-day visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups of ASEAN countries will also be temporarily suspended.
In a late-night announcement on Thursday night (March 26), its foreign ministry said only diplomats, those engaged in emergency humanitarian work, or "necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities" and those with C visas are exempted from the suspension, which will begin Saturday.
"Each Chinese airline is only allowed to maintain one route to any specific country with no more than one flight per week", it reads, while "each foreign airline is only allowed to maintain one route to China with no more than one weekly flight".
While China announced on Wednesday that there were no new locally transmitted cases of coronavirus on its mainland for the sixth time in eight days, imported cases still rose.
Earlier, China's civil aviation regulator issued a circular on Thursday to further cut worldwide flights as part of efforts to stem the inflow of novel COVID-19 cases.
However, it's worth noting that the vast majority of these cases do not involve foreign nationals.
While China hasn't banned its own citizens from returning, it has moved to dramatically reduce the number of flight options they will have, limiting foreign airlines to just one flight a week to China starting on Sunday. 90 percent of China's imported coronavirus patients hold Chinese passports while 40 percent are overseas Chinese students.
The coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, a port city of 11 million people in China's Hubei province, late a year ago.