By now you probably would have known that Singapore is barring all visitors from the whole of China from tonight 11.59pm onwards in an attempt to curb the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. This includes anyone who has been to China in the last 14 days.
As of the time of writing, there have already been 11,949 people infected. It is scary because just in China alone, there are 11,791 people with the virus, and the death toll has climbed to 259, with 46 new fatalities reported just this morning.
In Singapore, we already have 16 confirmed cases, one of which is a 47-year-old Singaporean, the first to have been infected by the highly contagious virus.
While you may think that this is a drastic move by Singapore, it seems that we’re not the only ones doing this.
US Joins Bandwagon To Ban Visitors From China
According to a proclamation from President Trump, any foreign national who has travelled to China in the last 14 days will be denied entry into the United States.
The US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar added that the move was done in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus. He also declared that it’s a public health emergency in the US.
All US citizens who have travelled to China will have to undergo a mandatory health screening upon landing in the country and will be ordered to quarantine themselves in their own homes for the next 14 days. Those who have travelled to Hubei province where the outbreak began will be quarantined by the authorities after they return to the US for 14 days.
The reason for the special number “14” is because 14 days is the longest estimate of the time required for people to develop symptoms after they’re infected with the virus. However, there has been some research that showed that in certain cases, even those with no symptoms can still infect others.
All those flying in from China will be limited to only seven airports to facilitate easier health screenings and better monitoring, namely John F. Kennedy International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu.
The restriction will take effect from tomorrow onwards at 5pm Eastern Standard Time, which is 6am on 3 February for Singapore.
There will be exceptions for immediate family members of US citizens and permanent residents to enter the country, but they will be held under quarantine for monitoring first.
Don’t Visit China Unless Necessary
The US State Department has advised all US citizens not to travel to China at all and gave a level four travel advisory, which is the strongest possible one reserved for regions with a “greater likelihood of life-threatening risks”.
As soon as the advisory was put out, US airlines American, Delta, and United Airlines suspended all their flights to and from China.
Travel Bans Of Other Countries
Mongolia has also announced that they will ban Chinese nationals and foreigners from coming into their country via plane, train or road from today onwards until 2 March. Mongolians will also be barred from going to China during the same period.
In Vietnam, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered the suspension of giving out new tourist visas for Chinese citizens and foreigners who have travelled to China the last 14 days.
Italy has suspended all flights travelling to and from China and declared a state of emergency in an attempt to speed up and strengthen efforts to battle against the virus.
Papua New Guinea has gone a step further to bar all visitors from “Asian ports”.
While it isn’t the entirety of China, Malaysia has also temporarily banned all Chinese visitors from Hubei from entering their land in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus into their country.
These policies all contradict the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) advice saying that countries should not restrict travel or trade because of the virus.
Hopefully the situation diffuses soon and we are able to curb the spread of the virus.