China adopts toughest epidemic prevention measures, bans people from many countries from entering the country.

China announced on Thursday (Nov 5) that due to the global epidemic backlash, British, Belgian, Bangladeshi and Filipino travellers, except Chinese nationals, will not be allowed to enter China even if they have valid visas. And travelers from the United States, France and Germany will be required to provide proof of two health test results when entering China.

Chinese embassies and consulates in the countries concerned have issued announcements saying that China will suspend the entry into China of people from those countries with currently valid Chinese visas and residence permits for work, private affairs and family visits.

The announcement also said that the Chinese side will not issue a “declaration of health status” for persons from the countries concerned, but the entry into China of persons holding diplomatic, official, courtesy and C-word visas (international airline crew members) will not be affected.

In addition, foreigners who need to travel to China in special emergency situations can apply for visas from Chinese embassies (consulates).

The New York Times said that the main impact this new rule could have is to prevent foreign businessmen and teachers who were living in China before the virus pandemic from returning to China. These people left China in the wake of the outbreak and can’t go back now if they want to.

Chinese embassy announcements in the UK and the Philippines show that visas issued after November 3, 2020, are not affected. The Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh said that entry into China with visas issued after November 5, 2020, is not affected.

The Chinese embassy in the UK said the measure is temporary in nature. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin gave a similar explanation at a regular press conference on Thursday (November 5). He said that “this is a temporary measure that China had to take in response to the current epidemic” and hoped “to gain everyone’s understanding.” Wang Wenbin, however, did not specify how long the measure might last.

Reuters said it should be the strictest entry restrictions China has adopted since the virus pandemic began.

Similar statements have been issued by the Chinese embassies in Belgium and the Philippines, which have also banned travelers from entering China.

The British Chamber of Commerce in China expressed concern over the Chinese decision. The chamber was quoted by Reuters as saying: “We are concerned by this sudden announcement (by the Chinese side) and the decision to ban British nationals from entering the country. We are waiting for further clarification from (the Chinese side) on when this ban will be lifted.”

After a global epidemic of the new coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China, began earlier this year, the U.S. government declared on Jan. 31 that the novel coronavirus outbreak constituted a public health emergency in the United States and that non-U.S. citizens who had recently visited China would be banned from entering the country. The Chinese government immediately responded, “It’s so unkind.”

As a result of the backlash against the epidemic, the United Kingdom has decided to close the city for a month starting Thursday. Britain has the highest death toll of any European country, with more than 20,000 new cases per day.

Belgium has the highest number of new cases per capita in Europe. The Philippines has the second highest infection and death rate in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia.

China’s decision to freeze the entry of citizens from these countries partially reverses the notification it announced on Sept. 28 to allow entry to all foreigners with valid residence permits.

Under the new Chinese rules, as of Nov. 6, all travelers from the United States, France, Germany and Thailand will be required to produce the results of a nucleic acid test and a serum antibody test when entering China. Both tests must be completed within 48 hours before boarding.

If they are transiting through a third country, they will be required to do both tests in the country or region of transit. This requirement will undoubtedly be a major hassle.