Taiwan to shut borders to foreigners in bid to combat coronavirus starting March 19

Travellers arrive at Taoyuan International airport as the Taiwanese government announced a ban for most foreigners entering the island, as part of preventive measures against coronavirus disease, in Taiwan, on March 18, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI (BLOOMBERG) - Taiwan plans to bar all new arrivals by foreign nationals, adding to the growing ranks of governments shutting their borders in a bid to slow the global spread of the coronavirus.

The ban on arrivals will start on Thursday (March 19), according to Mr Chen Shih-chung, the head of Taiwan's coronavirus command centre. Exceptions will be granted to those with residence permits, diplomats and anyone arriving to carry out commercial contracts.

The move comes as Taiwan battles a sharp increase in imported coronavirus cases over the past few days, despite a slowdown in local transmissions of the disease.

The island's government announced 10 new cases on Tuesday, all of them imported by people returning from overseas travel, in the biggest single-day jump since the beginning of the outbreak.

Taiwan has so far reported 77 cases of the coronavirus, and one death.

European countries decided on Tuesday to restrict arrivals by all non-EU citizens for 30 days, following a similar move by the US last week.

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