China to ease entry ban on foreigners with South Korea ‘fast track’
With the deadly disease spreading globally, China last month blocked almost all foreigners from entering as authorities fretted over cases being imported from abroad.
Beijing is also in talks with other countries including Singapore to set up a similar channel to stabilise economic cooperation and ensure supply chains run smoothly, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a press briefing Tuesday.
The virus, first discovered in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December, has since spread like wildfire and killed more than 167,000 people worldwide with cases reported in over 190 countries.
But there are signs that China is looking to relax some of its controls as the measures used to curb the pandemic place a huge economic strain on nations worldwide.
“China is in talks with relevant countries to set up fast-track channels allowing… business and technical personnel to travel,” Geng told reporters on Tuesday.
“The purpose is to stabilise important economic and trade cooperation… and to ensure the safe and smooth operation of international industrial and supply chains,” he added.
Beijing has reached a consensus with Seoul on the fast-track channel and both sides are working to implement the plan, Geng said.
China and Singapore have also discussed personnel exchanges via video conference, he said, but Geng declined to elaborate on which other countries authorities were negotiating with.
The Asian giant has tightened controls on returning travellers and drastically cut international flight routes after largely bringing its virus outbreak under control in recent weeks.
There are signs that the dramatic steps are working, with only four new imported cases of coronavirus reported Tuesday.
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