China is temporarily closing its borders to all foreigners in an attempt to prevent the resurgence of coronavirus, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Thursday.
“The suspension is a temporary measure that China is compelled to take in light of the outbreak situation and the practices of other countries,” a statement announcing the decision read. “China will stay in close touch with all sides and properly handle personnel exchanges with the rest of the world under the special circumstances. The above-mentioned measures will be calibrated in light of the evolving situation and announced accordingly.”
Beginning at midnight on March 28, the ban affects even foreign nationals with visas or residence permits. Diplomatic visas will not be affected.
The Chinese Communist Party has drawn scrutiny for its initial handling of the virus after it suppressed claims of coronavirus’s human-to-human transmission and gagged labs that discovered the novel outbreak resembled the deadly SARS virus of 2002-2003.
Beijing has also delivered faulty test kits to European countries and started a propaganda campaign to suggest the virus originated in the U.S., with some claims by state-run media being parroted by mainstream western outlets.