China’s government has announced that it will close its borders to most foreigners starting Saturday.
The move is to halt the spread of the coronavirus as concerns grow over rising imported cases.
Foreign nationals currently holding Chinese visas or residency permits will be temporarily banned from entering the country.
According to a government statement from the foreign ministry and the national immigration authority, this policy will be in place until further notice.
China’s government is also suspending all visa-free transit and visa-on-landing programs.
People holding diplomatic passports are however exempted from the new rule.
Foreign nationals who must visit China out of necessity will now need to apply for new visas, and holders of Chinese visas issued after Thursday will be allowed into the country, the statement added.
The outbreak of the coronavirus started in China’s city of Wuhan but the local infection has been brought under control.
In recent weeks there have been reported cases of the virus but mostly among travelers visiting China.
China has recorded over 80,000 cases and has confirmed over 3,000 deaths with over 40,0000 people recovering.
The world has so far recorded over half a million cases of coronavirus as at March 26, 2020.