Cross-strait ferry services to be halted from Monday

02/07/2020 07:09 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 7 (CNA) Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) announced on Friday that ferry services between its offshore islands and China's Fujian Province will be halted from Monday due to the growing threat posed by the Wuhan coronavirus.

From Feb. 10, the ferry services connecting Taiwan's Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu islands to Xiamen, Quanzhou, Mawei and Huangchi ports in Fujian will be temporarily suspended as a result of the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) across the globe since last December, the MAC said in a statement.

The resumption of transportation links across the Taiwan Strait will depend on how the overall situation evolves, the MAC said.

From Feb. 1 to Feb. 5, an average of 425 people entered Kinmen and 28 arrived on Matsu from China per day, most of whom were Taiwanese nationals traveling between the two sides, it said.

The cross-strait ferry services were established on Jan. 2, 2001 to facilitate travel between the three Taiwanese islands and China, which lies just several kilometers away.

The transportation links were suspended from 2002-2004, when the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was at its peak.

The 2019-nCoV, which started in Wuhan in China's Hubei Province last December, has since resulted in more than 30,000 infections and 638 deaths, mostly in China. To date, Taiwan has confirmed 16 cases. Last week, the World Health Organization declared the virus a global health emergency.

(By Flor Wang and Lai Yen-hsi)

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