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China works to curb imports of infections

Country takes measures to prevent transnational spread of epidemic.

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Updated: March 2, 2020

China has taken scientific and active measures to curb cases of novel coronavirus pneumonia being imported from overseas as the epidemic continues to worsen internationally.

At a news conference held by the State Council’s joint prevention and control mechanism on Sunday, Lin Wei, an official at the General Administration of Customs, said that it has adopted strict measures on entry-exit epidemic control including requiring to submit a declaration of health to screen people with epidemic symptoms.

Anyone entering or exiting ports and airports should have their temperatures checked and strict inspections will be carried out on people with symptoms, those from regions severely hit by the virus and those who have had contact with confirmed patients, he said.

The number of daily new COVID-19 cases outside China has exceeded those inside the country for four consecutive days, as the disease has been detected in at least 60 countries. Cities including Beijing, Shenzhen and Zhongwei in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region have seen imported cases of the disease.

Cui Aimin, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Consular Affairs, said that if the situation in those countries worsens, the Chinese government will help bring Chinese citizens staying there back to China.

Chinese citizens currently in countries seriously affected by the epidemic can fly directly back to China or via a third country, he said.

China has sent 10 flights and brought back 1,314 Chinese citizens from overseas, and it also assisted the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao in bringing back about 200 people from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, according to Cui.

China will closely follow the development of the epidemic in other countries and strengthen communication with those countries to reduce unnecessary cross-border travel and ensure its foreign exchanges and co-operation won’t suffer major impact, he said.

Some local governments in China have strengthened their inspection and adopted quarantine measures on people entering China from countries and regions severely hit by the virus, such as home quarantine.

Cui said that such measures, in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations, are not only necessary for the current epidemic control work, but also are effective for preventing the transnational spread of the epidemic.

In another development, flights between China and South Korea, as well as between China and Japan, have been reduced due to the fast spread of the virus, according to Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Zhu Tao, chief of the administration’s flight standard department, said at the news conference that considering the current market demand and the epidemic, the total number of flights between China and South Korea this week has been cut to 320 and the number will be further reduced to 276 next week. The total number of flights between China and Japan has dropped to 380 this week, and will be further reduced to 263 next week, he said.

The administration is negotiating with relevant countries to form a unified technical standard and adopt the same level of prevention and control measures to prevent the spread of the virus, he added.

Wang Qingyun, Mo Jingxi and Wang Keju contributed to this story.

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China Daily
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