Chinese authorities have announced new measures on Wednesday, March 11, in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as the country now imports more cases than are reported domestically.
All international travelers arriving to Beijing must undergo a 14-day centralized quarantine or self-quarantine at their place of residence. According to British authorities, short term business travelers will be required to stay in a designated hotel on arrival and must not leave until they have received test results for the coronavirus.
Chinese authorities have announced that visas for Japanese nationals intending to stay on Chinese soil for 15 days or less will be temporarily suspended as of Tuesday, March 10.
Local authorities in Shanghai and in Guangdong province have announced 14 days of mandatory quarantine effective immediately for people who have visited or transited through Italy, Iran, Japan, and the Republic of Korea over the preceding 14 days before arriving in China.
The number of provinces and cities implementing such restrictions is likely to increase in the near future.
Health officials confirmed on Wednesday, March 11, the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases and associated fatalities nationwide since January with an additional 15 cases, bringing the total number of infected individuals to 80,932. Authorities also reported the lowest death toll since late January with 11 deaths, increasing the nationwide total to 3172 since the start of the outbreak.
Significant transportation and business disruptions are expected to persist throughout China as authorities continue to attempt to contain the outbreak.
Further spread of the virus is expected internationally in the near future.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.