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China Increasingly Irked by Countries Politicizing the Coronavirus Outbreak by adding Entry Restrictions, Stopping Flights

China Increasingly Irked by Countries Politicizing the Coronavirus Outbreak by adding Entry Restrictions, Stopping Flights

Seventeen countries and territories have now imposed entry restrictions on passengers who have been to or transferred through mainland China following the novel Coronavirus outbreak and its a policy that is beginning to increasingly irk Beijing. So much so that the government’s English-language mouthpiece has accused the United States of politicizing the crisis.

The U.S. was one of the first countries to restrict foreign nationals who had been in or transferred through China from entering the USA within 14-days of travel. The move followed a decision by the State Department to declare the Coronavirus a public health emergency ahead of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“The tendency of politicizing public health emergencies hinders international cooperation to fight epidemics,” the Global Times said of President Trump’s decision to issue a proclamation that brought in the entry restrictions.

The newspaper questioned whether the U.S. healthcare system would be up to dealing with a potential epidemic in the same way as Beijing had done by effectively quarantining an entire province which is home to 60 million people.

A spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry has criticised countries who have ignored the official advice of the WHO and International Air Transport Association (IATA) – Both of whom still advise against any “measures that unnecessarily interfere with international trade or travel.”

Beijing has been particularly vocal about its displeasure with not only the United States but also Taiwan, which went one step further by denying entry to Chinese passport holders. The Global Times described Taiwan’s behaviour as “despicable”.

“We deplore and oppose those countries who went against WHO’s professional recommendations and ICAO’s bulletin,” foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying complained.

“Their actions, which sowed panic among the public, will not help prevent and control the epidemic. They have gravely disrupted normal personnel exchanges, international cooperation, and order of the international market for air transportation,” she continued.

Other countries to impose restrictions include Australia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan and the Phillippines. Even Hong Kong, which is a semi-autonomous Special Administrative Region of China has imposed some entry restrictions.

In contrast, Beijing has “heaped praise” on countries who have so far resisted the temptation of introducing entry restrictions. The likes of the United Kingdom, France and Germany find themselves being praised alongside North Korea, Russia, and Cuba.

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised China’s handling of the outbreak on Wednesday, saying the authorities were taking “decisive and vigorous measures in order to stop the epidemic.”

China is concerned the stance being taken by some countries is fueling racism and an “overreaction” to Chinese citizens living and travelling abroad. In a message to its citizens, Beijing said it would win the war against Coronavirus just like it did with SARS – when that might be isn’t yet known.

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