China says not granting passport renewals for non-essential travel

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People wearing protective face masks carry their luggage at Capital Airport, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Beijing, China, November 5, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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SHANGHAI, Feb 12 (Reuters) - China's National Immigration Administration said it will not be renewing passports for non-essential travel while the international COVID-19 epidemic situation is still severe and cross border travel poses "great security risks".

The administration said in a statement on social media it will "normally issue passports" for individuals who need to travel abroad for study, employment, or business.

But rumours it will issue passport renewals for individuals looking to travel abroad for leisure are false, the authority said.

China has tightened controls over its citizens' cross-border travel to lower the risk of the virus being brought in from overseas and spreading domestically.

It has suspended the issuance of new common passports for individuals who intend to go abroad for non-urgent matters.

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Reporting by Josh Horwitz and Roxanne Liu; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

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