Chinese embassy still issuing visas

Chinese embassy still issuing visas

Saturday, February 15, 2020

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THE Chinese embassy in Jamaica says it's business as usual as far as the issuance of visas is concerned as consular activities remain normal, notwithstanding the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China.

The virus, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the “new COVID-19 virus”, has forced severe travel restrictions as Governments seek to stop the vicious spread of the virus globally.

“China's visa-issuing authorities abroad and port visa authorities are functioning normally. Foreigners have no problem entering China in accordance with China's relevant laws and regulations,” the embassy told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

The WHO says it does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers but that persons with respiratory illness symptoms, either during or after travel, should seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider.

Chinese authorities, meanwhile, are working feverishly to contain the virus, but Jamaica has moved to secure the health of citizens by implementing heightened restrictions for persons who have travelled to China, entering the island.

Embassy spokesman Xia Shaowu stated that, “The outbreak is temporary, but friendship and cooperation are forever. Given the strong strategic relationship between China and Jamaica, we believe normal personnel exchanges and practical cooperation in different fields will not be affected by the epidemic, mutual trust and cooperation between our two countries will become stronger”.

He reiterated that China stands ready to work with Jamaica to tide over the current difficulties and beat the outbreak . “We encourage Jamaica authorities to ensure that relevant measures are temporary, non-discriminatory against Chinese nationals, commensurate with public health risks and make adjustments according to the evolvement of the situation,” he emphasised.

So far, 1,384 people have died from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and there are currently 64,473 confirmed cases in 29 countries and territories. Only two fatalities have occurred outside of China.

The WHO said in its 25th situation report on the virus yesterday: “In view of the urgency of the COVID-19 outbreak, the international community is mobilising to find ways to significantly accelerate the development of interventions including vaccines and therapeutics.”

It said nearly 400 world scientists met at WHO's Geneva headquarters on February 11 and 12 to assess the current level of knowledge about the new COVID-19 virus, agree on critical research questions that need to be answered urgently, and identify ways to work together to accelerate and fund priority research that can contribute to curtail this outbreak and prepare for future outbreaks.

The meeting was organised by WHO, in collaboration with the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness.

– Alphea Saunders


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