Coronavirus: China Imposes Nationwide Travel Restrictions

Passengers wearing facemasks walk across a hall following preventive procedures against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Pudong International Airport in Shanghai on June 11, 2020. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)
HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

China’s ruling Communist Party imposed travel restrictions on all 31 provincial-level regions of the country on Tuesday in an effort to contain the spread of China’s most recent coronavirus outbreak, the state-run press agency Xinhua reported.

“All 31 provincial-level regions in the Chinese mainland have urged citizens not to go to medium and high-risk areas for COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] or leave the provinces where they live unless it is necessary,” according to Xinhua.

China’s government designated 153 areas “medium- or high-risk” for the Chinese coronavirus as of Wednesday, “the highest number since the nation’s epidemic prevention and control situation was normalized after the outbreak in Wuhan was basically contained in April 2020,” China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said. Wuhan’s coronavirus epidemic from about December 2019 to April 2020 was the catalyst for the ongoing Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

The Communist Party’s State Council, China’s chief administrative authority, held a press conference in Beijing on August 4 alongside party officials from China’s transport, immigration, and civil aviation authorities. The collective said it had agreed to impose “scaled-up prevention and controls in the transportation network of the country” in response to China’s latest coronavirus epidemic, which Chinese health officials traced to a single cluster infection of the Chinese coronavirus at Nanjing Lukou International Airport in eastern Jiangsu province on July 20.

China’s National Immigration Administration said on Wednesday it will temporarily stop issuing ordinary entry and exit certificates for non-essential and non-urgent cross-border movement into and out of China as part of its efforts to strengthen border control measures at Chinese ports.

China’s transport ministry suspended the operations of 18 shipping companies and barred foreign crews on 438 ships from changing shifts at ports in China on Tuesday, the state-run Global Times reported, citing an unnamed official working for the ministry.

Employees of airports and land or water ports across China, including sailors, “will be separated from their families during their work time,” as part of the new virus containment measures, the state-run China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported on August 4.

“They’ll work proper shifts and live in designated places to avoid contact with their families and community members,” CGTN quoted Han Guangzu, vice chief of the Flight Standard Department of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, as saying.

Inter-city buses, taxis, and ride-sharing services operating in cities designated “medium- or high-risk” for the Chinese coronavirus must suspend business starting Wednesday, according to the newspaper.

“Travel agencies online and offline should keep track of epidemic information of destinations and not send groups into or receive groups from areas with medium and high COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] risks,” a notice issued Tuesday by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism read.

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