Taiwan to suspend entry for Chinese citizens to control virus

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan’s government said on Wednesday it would suspend entry for all Chinese citizens who live in mainland China from Thursday to help combat the spread of the new coronavirus.

Taiwan had in practice already stopped entry to most Chinese citizens, but this ban, announced by the Central Epidemic Command Centre, extends that restriction.

Taiwan has only reported 11 cases of the virus, compared with more than 24,000 in China, and Taiwan’s government has moved to prevent it from spreading further on the island, including tightening entry requirements.

The new broad ban on Chinese citizens was put in place because of “the seriousness of the epidemic in China and close exchanges with our country,” the command center said in a news release.

Taiwan this week also said it would ban from entering the island foreigners who had been in China in the last 14 days, though it excluded Hong Kong and Macau.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Himani Sarkar