China has temporarily banned the entry of foreigners from at least eight countries as COVID-19 cases rise in Europe and elsewhere. Non-Chinese can no longer enter from Russia, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Philippines, India, and Bangladesh, even if they hold a valid visa or residence permit for China, the AP reports. Embassies in those countries have posted online notices in recent days announcing the temporary suspension of entry. China, where the coronavirus first emerged, has enacted strict measures to guard against new infections from abroad. Health authorities on Friday reported 30 imported cases in the most recent 24-hour period, including 15 in Shanghai. That brought the total number of imported cases during the pandemic to 3,510.
China largely closed its borders in March but in recent months, it had relaxed restrictions, allowing some foreign nationals to enter if they tested negative for the virus and spent two weeks in quarantine, AFP reports. The country is now "drawing on the practices of many countries and adjusting its handling of the entry of the relevant people into China based on the changing pandemic situation," a foreign ministry spokesman said Tuesday. Citizens of countries including the US are still currently allowed to enter China, but the tightened restrictions require them to obtain a health certificate from a Chinese embassy within 48 hours of travel with results of a nucleic acid test and an antibody test. (Read more coronavirus stories.)