Wuhan virus: Several China cities including Shanghai and Beijing to ban long-distance buses

A security guard closes a gate at the Sihui Long Distance Bus Station in Beijing after the city has stoped inter-province buses services, on Jan 26, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP, REUTERS) - Shanghai's government said on Sunday (Jan 26) it was suspending all long-distance bus services into or out of the city, as the authorities scramble to contain a deadly new virus that has spread across the country.

The measure announced by the financial hub's transportation commission goes into effect immediately followed a similar move made by the capital Beijing. The cities of Tianjin and Xi'an as well as Hebei province in the north, along with the eastern Shandong province, has also imposed such measures.

Shandong province, with a population of 100 million people, said inter-city buses in the province will only be allowed to leave if stations have temperature screening measures, CCTV said.

From 6pm on Sunday, Xi'an will suspend long-distance buses and tourist chartered buses entering the city of 10 million people, local officials said on the Twitter-like Weibo platform, following the announcement of similar measures in Tianjin and Beijing.

Inter-city taxis will be suspended, except those from the city's airport, the statement said.

The measures are to stop the spread of the virus through "passenger transport by road and taxis", officials said.

Several cities and regions across China have announced travel restrictions to control the virus that has infected nearly 2,000 people and killed 56.

The strictest measures have been imposed on Wuhan, the epicentre of the epidemic, where people are not allowed to leave the city.

Transport bans have been placed in many other cities in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, affecting some 56 million people.

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Beijing announced it will suspend buses that enter and exit the Chinese capital's boundary from Sunday, and the northern city of Tianjin will suspend long-distance buses and chartered buses that enter and leave the city starting Monday.

The southern city of Shantou will strengthen disease controls such as disinfection efforts, local state media STRTV reported, reversing an earlier statement it would stop cars, ships and people from entering the city.

Shantou, which is more than 800km from Wuhan city in central China, had also said earlier it would suspend the operation of buses, taxis and ferries from 2pm on Sunday.

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