Vietnam bans HK visitors as airlifts pick up pace

Top News | Agencies and Michael Shum 30 Jan 2020

Vietnam has stopped issuing travel visas to Chinese, including residents of Hong Kong and Macau from yesterday.

Its deputy prime minister said it has suspended the issuance of tourist visas for people from infected areas, including electronic visas, general visas and visas on arrival, except for emergency cases.

Duc Dam said that the current control of the Wuhan pneumonia is very good in Vietnam, but the situation in China is complex and unpredictable.

The policy will be reviewed around February 15.

That came as 206 Japanese nationals arrived in Tokyo after being evacuated from Wuhan, with five falling sick after arrival.

Four passengers showed symptoms of fever or coughing.

Two of the four showed signs of pneumonia following scans but a coronavirus diagnosis has not been confirmed.

A fifth person later fell ill and was taken to a different hospital in Tokyo.

Authorities could not say when the four had started showing signs of illness, but said all passengers had been cleared to travel by medics before leaving Wuhan.

This came as the first batch of Americans evacuated from Wuhan stopped in Alaska and went through checks before flying on to California.

A US chartered aircraft evacuating as many as 240 Americans from Wuhan has landed in the United States.

Departing early yesterday, the plane made a stop in Alaska to refuel before going on to California, according to the US embassy in Beijing.

Many countries are trying to repatriate nationals out of Wuhan, with Italy, Australia and the EU being the newest on the list.

This all came as a family of four mainlanders from Wuhan who arrived in the United Arab Emirates on January 16 was diagnosed with the new coronavirus - the country's first confirmed case. It was not immediately clear how many people had been infected, but those diagnosed with the coronavirus were in stable condition.

Australia and the European Union have also announced plans to evacuate nationals.

In Germany, four people who work at the same company have been infected, with one contracting it from a Chinese colleague visiting their workplace in Germany.

The parents of the Chinese woman live in Wuhan and visited her days before her German trip. She tested positive after returning home from Germany.

The suspected person-to-person transmission case came as a woman in Malaysia, who initially tested negative contracted it after taking care of her infected children, and a Japanese tour bus driver contracted the coronavirus after driving two tour groups from Wuhan.

In other news, British Airways has suspended all direct flights to and from China yesterday.

Its website shows no direct flights to China available for booking in January and February, but direct flights to Hong Kong are unaffected.

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