CORONAVIRUS/China to deny entry if Taiwan COVID-19 report mentions 'Wuhan virus'

12/18/2020 03:48 PM
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A China Southern Airlines plane (front) at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. CNA file photo
A China Southern Airlines plane (front) at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. CNA file photo

Shanghai and Beijing, Dec. 18 (CNA) Travelers arriving in China from Taiwan will be denied entry if they provide a nucleic acid report misnamed "Wuhan virus" instead of the name officially designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "coronavirus disease 2019," or COVID-19 in abbreviated form.

The new measure, effective immediately, was made in separate statements Thursday by three Chinese carriers -- China Southern Airlines, Air China and Shenzhen Airlines -- that currently operate flights to and from Taiwan.

According to the airlines, even if passengers test negative for the disease, entry into China will be denied if "Wuhan virus" is mentioned anywhere in their reports.

"The WHO has already announced the official name of the disease as coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. As such, passengers are advised to avoid misusing other names or they will be refused entry to China," China Southern Airlines announced on its Taiwan website.

Meanwhile, a joint notice by both Air China and Shenzhen Airlines was issued to Taiwanese travel agencies highlighting that the words "Wuhan virus" are prohibited from being mentioned in the negative COVID-19 nucleic acid reports.

A Taiwanese national who currently operates a business in Guangdong, China, told CNA late Thursday he is aware that most hospitals in Taiwan now refer to the disease simply as COVID-19 and that therefore the announcement made by the carriers should be a non-issue for travelers.

From Oct. 12, passengers arriving in China from Taiwan are required to provide a negative nucleic acid report 72 hours prior to boarding their flight.

(By Chang Shu-ling, Lawrence Chiu and Ko Lin)

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