Philippines Halts Tourist Visas to Chinese Nationals

January 28, 2020 Updated: January 28, 2020

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or the Wuhan coronavirus, has spread from China to 14 countries, including the United States, France, and Japan.

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Philippines Halts Tourist Visas to Chinese Nationals

The Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration said on Tuesday it will halt the issuing of tourist visas to Chinese nationals who arrive in the country to help stop the spread of 2019-nCoV.

“We are taking this proactive measure to slow down travel, and possibly help prevent the entry of the 2019-nCov,” bureau commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement.

Malaysia on Monday suspended issuing visas to Chinese nationals traveling from Hubei Province.

Details About First Potential Super Spreader of Coronavirus Come to Light

Details about the first potential super spreader of the Wuhan coronavirus have come to light.

Some doctors who operated on a 69-year-old male patient, Zhao Junshi, on Jan. 7 contracted the coronavirus from human-to-human contact. They were unaware that Zhao was carrying the virus at the time of his operation. Zhao and the doctors who developed a fever a few days after the operation have been sent to Wuhan Union Hospital for isolation and treatment.

Read more here.

Japan Warns About Risks to Economy From Outbreak

Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura warned on Tuesday that corporate profits and factory production might take a hit from the coronavirus outbreak in China that has rattled global markets and chilled confidence.

Asian stocks extended a global selloff as the outbreak in China fueled concern over the damage to the world’s second largest economy.

“There are concerns over the impact to the global economy from the spread of infection in China, transportation disruptions, cancellation of group tours from China, and an extension in the Lunar Holiday,” Nishimura told a news conference after a regular cabinet meeting.

China is Japan’s second largest export destination and a huge market for its retailers. The Chinese make up 30 percent of all tourists visiting Japan and nearly 40 percent of the total sum foreign tourists spent last year, an industry survey showed.

The outbreak could hit Japanese department stores, retailers, and hotels, which count on a boost to sales from an inflow of Chinese tourists visiting during the Lunar Holiday.

“We’re worried that sales and the number of shoppers could fall if the outbreak persists,” said a public relations official at Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, a major Japanese department store operator.

“It’s not just about Chinese tourists. We’re also worried that concern over the outbreak may keep Japanese shoppers home.”

Facebook, Others Restrict Business Travel to China as Warnings Grow

Facebook Inc. and other global companies including LG Electronics Inc. and Standard Chartered Plc. announced they are restricting travel to China on Tuesday.

Airlines are also cancelling flights and adjusting schedules as a growing number of countries raise travel warnings to not just Hubei province where the new coronavirus broke out, but also to the rest of mainland China.

The United States warned on Monday that Americans should “reconsider” visiting all of China, while South Korea elevated its travel warning on Tuesday, advising its citizens to refrain from visiting China.

South Korean home appliances maker LG has put a complete ban on travel to China and has advised employees on business trips in the country to return home as quickly as possible, a company spokeswoman said.

South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc. said it was urging employees to avoid all non-essential travel to China, while banking group Standard Chartered restricted travel to both mainland China and Hong Kong.

In Germany, auto supplier Webasto, which has 11 sites in China, including in Wuhan, has halted all corporate travel to and from China following the virus and the infection of an employee.

Japan’s Honda Motor Co Ltd. said it recommended employees avoid travel to China, while Nissan Motor Co. said it plans to evacuate its Japanese staff and their families in Wuhan via a government-chartered flight.

As companies reassessed the risk of travel to China, some airlines said demand for flights was falling and they were adjusting schedules.

Private Charities Banned From Lending Aid in Hubei Province

Beijing has banned private charities and volunteers from entering Hubei Province, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, or sending materials to hospitals directly.

Meanwhile, Chinese netizens complained on social media that officially sanctioned charity organizations were complicated and slow in their processing, delaying shipments to hospitals in Hubei.

It’s unclear why authorities made the decision.

Read more here.

Tibet Tourism Sites Closed to Prevent Virus Spread: State Media

China’s Tibet region has temporarily closed all tourist sites starting on Monday to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, official news agency Xinhua reported.

Potala Palace Tibet
Potala Palace in Tibet in a file photo. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

Tianjin Says Will Set Up Dedicated Hospital to Treat Coronavirus Patients

The city of Tianjin in northern China has said it will establish a dedicated hospital to treat people infected by the coronavirus as part of a “wartime mechanism” to fight the disease, a government-owned paper said on Tuesday, citing the local health commission.

The city will move patients in the existing Haihe hospital to make 600 beds available at any time for potential patients.

Wuhan Mayor Admits Mishandling of Crisis, Pushes Blame on Beijing

The mayor of Wuhan City, Zhou Xianwang, admitted on Jan. 27 that the city government did not publish information in time and failed to properly contain the virus during a news segment on state broadcaster CCTV.

Wuhan health authorities only confirmed the outbreak on Dec. 31, 2019, though the first patient was infected on Dec. 12.

Zhou also revealed that more than five million people have left Wuhan in January, leaving many Chinese worried that these people have the potential to spread the virus widely.

Read more here.

Harvard Epidemiologist Says Chinese Regime Likely Underreporting Coronavirus Cases

The Chinese regime is likely underreporting the true scale of the coronavirus outbreak, a Harvard epidemiologist has said in a recent study.

Researchers found that “self-sustaining human-to-human transmission” is the “only plausible explanation of the scale of the outbreak in Wuhan.”

Read more here.

Insider Says Coronavirus Figures Much Higher Than China’s Official Numbers

The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is far bigger than the official figures released by Chinese public health authorities are indicating, according to an insider and an independent journalist.

The insider says that the true severity of the crisis has been covered up by a limited number of diagnosis kits available to Wuhan hospitals.

Read more here.

China Encourages People to Reconsider Timing of Overseas Travel to Curb Virus Spread

China’s National Immigration Administration encouraged citizens to reconsider the timing of overseas travel to reduce cross-border movement to help contain the new coronavirus, it said in a statement published on its official WeChat account on Tuesday.

With reporting from Reuters.