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Wuhan coronavirs: First death outside China, countries closing borders

Christian Fernsby |
The Philippines yesterday reported the growing epidemic of a coronavirus has claimed its first fatality outside of China, where new confirmed infections jumped by a daily record to top 14,000 cases.

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Topics: WUHAN    CORONAVIRS    CHINA   

The Philippines Department of Health said a 44 year old man from Wuhan city in central Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, had died in a Manila hospital after developing severe pneumonia.

Pakistan yesterday announced it would not grant Pakistani and Chinese nationals entry into the country without completing a 14 day incubation period inside China.

The two countries agreed that Beijing would not allow any Pakistanis currently within its borders to leave without completing the observation period, Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health, told reporters in Islamabad.

"China has already announced that no Chinese citizen will go abroad without remaining disease free for 14 days.

"Today, I met with the Chinese ambassador in Islamabad and we agreed that the same policy would also apply to those Pakistanis who are currently in China," Mirza said.

He explained that Chinese authorities would issue certificates to those who complete the incubation period, only then allowing them to travel abroad.

Mirza stressed that though people of roughly 120 nationalities lived in Wuhan, only several had airlifted their citizens from the city, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus, and that China "doesn't agree" with their evacuation.

He reiterated that no coronavirus cases have yet been confirmed in Pakistan.

Bangladesh on Sunday suspended the visa on arrival for Chinese citizens for an indefinite period amid coronavirus outbreak, the country's foreign minister said.

The announcement by Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen came during a news conference in the capital Dhaka.

The Chinese citizens working in Bangladesh have also been instructed not to leave the country for at least one month, Momen told reporters.

“Last night [Saturday] we held an emergency meeting and took the decision of not issuing any on-arrival visa for Chinese citizens until the risk of coronavirus turns to normal,” he said.

The Chinese citizens who wish to visit Bangladesh should apply for visa at the country's embassy in Beijing with detailed medical reports, he stressed, adding: “If embassy grants his/her visit with due scrutiny, only then they will be allowed to come to Bangladesh.”

Momen also said: “On the basis of friendly relations and bilateral trade, we have been issuing on-arrival visa for Chinese citizens for long. But the situation is now different.”

Bangladesh also informed the Chinese government about the instruction and that no new workers from China will be allowed in Mega projects in Bangladesh, where so many Chinese citizens are already working now.

Yesterday, 316 Bangladeshi expatriates working in China arrived in Bangladesh and eight of them have been hospitalized with suspected symptoms of coronavirus.

New Zealand announced today it would bar entry into the country from all foreign nationals arriving from mainland China due too the increasing threat from the coronavirus epidemic.

The ban is in effect from Monday and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade also raised its travel advice to New Zealanders for all of mainland China to “Do not travel”, the highest level.

“We have been advised by health officials that while there are still a range of unknowns in the way the virus is being transmitted, we should take a precautionary approach,” New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.

New Zealand citizens and permanent residents can still enter the country, as can their immediate family members, but will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival back in the country.

The ban will be in effect for up to 14 days, reviewed every 48 hours and includes all foreign travellers who left or transited through mainland China after February 2.

There have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in New Zealand.

New Zealand’s announcement followed a similar decision announced on Saturday by neighbouring Australia, where 12 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed. China is facing mounting isolation amid increasing international travel curbs and flight suspension Qantas Airways and Air New Zealand both said they were suspending direct flights to mainland China.

Australia announced during the week that it would evacuate locals from the Chinese city of Wuhan as part of a joint operation with New Zealand.


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