China announced it is barring the entry of foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits as of midnight Saturday as part of its efforts to prevent a flare-up of the coronavirus pandemic that started in their country.
The communist government says it got the outbreak under control and is worried about a rebounding effect, as cases soar in Europe and the Americas.
“The suspension is a temporary measure that China is compelled to take in light of the outbreak situation and the practices of other countries,” China’s Foreign Ministry said. “China will stay in close touch with all sides and properly handle personnel exchanges with the rest of the world under the special circumstances.”
The coronavirus was discovered in Wuhan, China, in December. It killed thousands in China before the epicenter shifted to South Korea and then to places such as Italy and Spain.
U.S. deaths reached a grim milestone of 1,000 deaths Thursday, after New York — the nation’s epicenter — reported 100 more deaths in the last 24-hour period.
There are nearly 70,000 cases from across the U.S. though more than 600 people have already recovered, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.
President Trump says his late-January decision to ban foreign nationals who’d been in China for the previous 14 days prevented a far worse problem.
Now, it’s China that is setting up barriers, saying it doesn’t want to squander the fruits of its draconian measures earlier in the year.
The Trump administration has blamed China for not acting swiftly enough or sounding the alarm for the rest of the world, as the outbreak struck Wuhan and its surrounding province at the start of the year.
Mr. Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping, however, for his efforts as China mobilized against the virus.
Mr. Xi called for global cooperation during a discussion by video link among leaders of the Group of 20 nations.
“We have mobilized the whole nation, set up collective control and treatment mechanisms and acted with openness and transparency. What we fought was a people’s war against the outbreak. We have put up a strenuous struggle and made tremendous sacrifices,” Mr. Xi told leaders, according to the state-run Xinhua outlet. “Now the situation in China is moving steadily in a positive direction. Life and work are quickly returning to normal. Yet, there is no way we will lower our guard or relax control.”
On Twitter, Mr. Trump said he will discuss the G-20 talks during his White House press conference later Thursday.
© Copyright (c) 2020 News World Communications, Inc.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.