Home Travel Coronavirus latest: Which countries are restricting arrivals? Do the travel bans work?

Coronavirus latest: Which countries are restricting arrivals? Do the travel bans work?

The coronavirus started in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December and has since reached two dozen countries. The death toll and the number of confirmed cases increases every day, with the outbreak now reaching the UK – where two cases were confirmed last week. But what does this mean for your holiday plans?

Which countries are restricting arrivals?

More than 20 countries have reported confirmed cases of the coronavirus within their borders.

Among them are the UK, Australia, Japan, Russia, Spain, the US, France and Germany.

The first person to die from the virus, a 44-year-old Chinese man in the Philippines, was reported on Sunday night.

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As of February 3, 361 people have died and there are 17,205 confirmed infections.

To combat the spread of the deadly illness several countries have restricted arrivals from China.

READ MORE: Coronavirus warning: London panic as Chinatown empties

Coronavirus latest: Which countries are restricting arrivals? Do the travel bans work? (Image: Getty)

Coronavirus latest: Foreign nationals who have spent time in China recently are being banned from entering several countries (Image: Getty)

The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern last week but said global trade and travel restrictions are not needed.

The US, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand are among the countries to deny entry to foreign nationals who have been in China recently.

Indonesia has also banned visitors who have spent 14 days in China.

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The Philippines had already barred people from the Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, but it expanded the measure to all foreigners coming from China.

Coronavirus latest: In Hong Kong hundreds of medical workers went on strike to demand the government to shut its borders with China (Image: Getty)

Coronavirus latest: The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (Image: Getty)

Japan has banned foreigners who have been in Hubei from entering the country.

On Tuesday, South Korea’s Prime Minister will impose a similar ban.

In Hong Kong, where 15 cases of the virus have been confirmed, hundreds of medical workers went on strike to demand the government to shut its borders with China.

The Maldives, a popular tourist destination for Chinese visitors, has banned travellers arriving from China.

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In Russia, where two cases were reported in Siberia and Zabaykalsky, direct passenger trains from China have been suspended.

The RIA news agency reported that the last train from Beijing to the Russian capital Moscow entered the country empty.

The 136 passengers on board were all Chinese nationals and were taken out at the Russia-China border.

From February 9, direct flights between China and the Czech Republic will be banned.

Coronavirus latest: The WHO says travel bans are not necessary (Image: Getty)

Not only are countries restricting travel, but they are also evacuating their citizens from China.

A flight carrying 83 Britons landed in Oxfordshire last week and a second plane with 11 UK nationals on board arrived on Sunday night.

The evacuees will be taken to a special unit in the Wirral where they will spend 14 days in quarantine.

The 11 people were able to find a seat on a French flight leaving Beijing.

Countries including Australia, the US, Canada, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia and South Korea are planning to or have already evacuated their citizens from Wuhan.

Russia will start evacuating Russian citizens on Monday and Tuesday while more than 100 Germans were flown from Wuhan on Friday.

Japan’s foreign ministry announced a chartered plane will be sent this week to fly home nationals from Hubei.

Malaysia sent a plane to Wuhan on Monday to bring back 141 people and also to deliver 500,000 pairs of gloves to the country.

Do the travel bans work?

Some health experts have argued against the use of travel bans, which go against the WHO’s recommendation.

Tarik Jašarević, a WHO spokesperson, said: “Although travel restrictions may intuitively seem like the right thing to do, this is not something that WHO usually recommends.

“This is because of the social disruption they cause and the intensive use of resources required.”

In Germany, cases were confirmed as spreading prior to someone having symptoms.

With millions having already travelled internationally without showing any symptoms, the travel bans may be too late in preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Catherine Worsnop, who studies international cooperation during global health emergencies at the University of Maryland, told Stat News: “From a public health perspective, there is limited effectiveness. And then there are a host of other reasons why they can actually be counterproductive.

“People want their government to do something when these outbreaks are happening, and adopting a border restriction is a visible policy that people think works.

“Adopting these restrictions undermines the cooperative approach we need to respond to this kind of outbreak, specifically by undermining the authority of the WHO, which has recommended against these restrictions.

“There’s not only the financial toll on a country that is dealing with this outbreak, but this can discourage transparency, both in this outbreak and in the future.”

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