WUHAN VIRUS/Taiwan bans entry of visitors from Wuhan on coronavirus fears

01/22/2020 11:21 PM

Taipei, Jan. 22 (CNA) Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Wednesday that visitors from Wuhan will not be permitted to enter Taiwan for the time being, as the government is seeking to prevent the spread of a deadly new coronavirus that originated in the central China city.

The ban applies to independent visitors as well as people in tour groups from Wuhan in Hubei Province, where the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been raging since last December, according to the MAC, the government agency that handles cross-Taiwan Strait exchanges.

In a statement, the MAC said the decision was made after a meeting Wednesday morning with representatives from the Tourism Bureau, Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, and National Immigration Agency (NIA).

After the meeting, the MAC said that as part of Taiwan's efforts to prevent the spread of the pneumonia-like infectious disease, it has decided to limit unnecessary exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, while the NIA said will stop issuing entry permits to tourists from Wuhan.

According to the NIA, it has revoked 429 entry permits previously issued for group tours from Wuhan at the end of January.

Residents of other cities in Hubei are advised not to apply for entry permits to Taiwan at this time, either for sightseeing, business, medical care, or visits to relatives, the NIA said.

Hubei residents who have already obtained entry permits should postpone their travel plans, the NIA said.

Taiwan has been taking steps to prevent the spread of the Wuhan virus, particularly after it confirmed its first case on Tuesday.

The patient, a Taiwanese businesswoman in her 50s who lives in Wuhan, had returned to Taiwan on Monday with a fever and cough and was immediately hospitalized and quarantined. She later tested positive for the 2019-nCoV.

On Tuesday, Taiwan raised its travel alert for Wuhan to the highest level in its three-tier system, advising people not to go there and urging travel agencies to cancel all trips between Taiwan and the Chinese city.

(By Huang Li-yun, Shen Peng-ta and Frances Huang)

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