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Iraq's Basra airport to deny entry to travellers from China amid global fears over Coronavirus

WHO declared a global emergency this week [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 February, 2020

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All nationalities travelling from China to Iraq's Basra International Airport will be denied entry, Iraq announced on Friday.
Iraq's Basra International Airport announced a move to refuse entry to passengers of any nationality travelling to into the country from China, amid global fears amid a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Iraq's announcement followed similar measures by multiple other countries, including the United States and Australia, which tightened travel curbs on Friday, a day after the World Health Organisation declared a global health emergency.

The US on Friday said it was declaring a public health emergency and temporarily banning the entry of foreign nationals who had traveled to China over the past two weeks to contain the spread of a deadly new virus.

Sweeping new restrictions will also be imposed on American citizens, with those returning from the province at the disease's epicenter placed in facilities for mandatory 14-day quarantines, said Health Secretary Alex Azar.

US citizens coming from other parts of China will undergo health screening at ports of entry and then be placed under monitored self-quarantine at home.

Read more: 'I'm Not A Virus': French Asians hit back at racists as coronavirus spreads worldwide

"I have today declared that the coronavirus presents a public health emergency in the United States," said Azar during a briefing at the White House, adding the directives would take effect on February 2 from 5:00 pm eastern time (2200 GMT).

"Foreign nationals, other than immediate family of US citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled in China within the last 14 days will be denied entry into the United States for this time," he added.

The restrictions apply to people who have travelled to the designated areas in the two weeks prior to their attempted entry.

There have been seven confirmed US cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, which originated in a live seafood market in Wuhan, in Hubei province, in December. 

The World Health Organization has already declared the epidemic a global emergency, and the Chinese death toll has risen to 259 while total infections reached nearly 12,000, surpassing the SARS epidemic of two decades ago.

Three US airlines, American, Delta and United said they would soon suspend all flights to China.

Australia

Meanwhile in Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said only "Australian citizens, Australian residents, dependents, legal guardians or spouses" would be permitted into the country from mainland China from Saturday.

"The arrangements are being put in place through our border authorities to ensure that that can be actioned," he added. 

Border control authorities would be able to "step up" processes in the next 24 hours to screen those who had departed or transited through China, Morrison said.

Exceptions will be made for airline crew "using appropriate personal protective equipment".

"We're in fact operating with an abundance of caution in these circumstances. So Australians can go about their daily lives with confidence," Morrison told reporters. 

"We're acting here in advance of many countries in terms of when similar types of arrangements are being put in place."

The requirement of people arriving in Australia from Hubei province to "self-isolate" for 14 days was expanded from Saturday to include anyone travelling from mainland China.

Australia's foreign ministry also updated its travel advice for mainland China to "do not travel”.

The virus has already been confirmed across the world, including China, Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Macau, Nepal, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Canada, US, Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.

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