Hong Kong Bans Hubei Travelers, Declares State of Emergency Over Coronavirus

January 26, 2020 Updated: January 27, 2020
FONT BFONT SText size

Hong Kong will ban entry all residents from Hubei Province and anyone who had visited there in the past 14 days amid the outbreak of the mysterious new virus that has sickened thousands and left dozens dead—in a move to contain the spread of the coronavirus that was first detected in the provincial capital of Wuhan.

In a statement Sunday, the government said it will implement the ban starting from midnight on Sunday, Hong Kong will ban any person who has been to Hubei in the past two weeks “until further notice.”

“Hidden patients have greatly increased the difficulty of preventing and controlling the epidemic,” the statement continued.

Hong Kong authorities also announced Sunday there were eight total cases in the city, reported the South China Morning Post.

On Saturday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam held a meeting with health officials before declaring a state of emergency and shuttered all schools in the city. All primary and secondary schools will be shuttered for two weeks.

“I hereby urge all citizens stay united to fight against the epidemic to protect all Hong Kong people’s health and safety,” she said in a Saturday press conference.

China’s National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei, meanwhile, told reporters that the virus may be strengthening.

“According to recent clinical information, the virus’ ability to spread seems to be getting somewhat stronger,” Ma said.

Officials in Orange County, California, confirmed the third infected person in the United States over the weekend. That person was discovered in the city of Santa Ana, located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, after having come from Wuhan. The two previous U.S. cases were confirmed in Chicago and Seattle last week.

The Chinese regime has implemented a massive travel ban in hard-hit areas, including Wuhan and other cities in Hubei. Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department on Saturday announced it would evacuate American citizens and personnel one a one-time flight from Wuhan to San Francisco.

“The Department of State is making arrangements to relocate its personnel stationed at the U.S. Consulate General in Wuhan to the United States,” the agency’s statement said. “We anticipate that there will be limited capacity to transport private U.S. citizens on a reimbursable basis on a single flight leaving Wuhan Tianhe International Airport on January 28, 2020 and proceeding directly to San Francisco.”