Hong Kong is closing off some of mainland China’s access points to the special administrative region amid the coronavirus outbreak. Its government has put travel permit issuances to Chinese tourists at a temporary halt as the Wuhan coronavirus death toll spiked to 107. Cases have been confirmed in at least 14 countries around the globe
A range of transportation is affected by the drastic move including High-speed rails, airplanes, and ferries. Half of the total flights coming in from China have been grounded while cross-border ferry services are suspended. This echoes the international alarm raised by the 2019 nCov’s rapid spread. The pathogen has similar qualities to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that also originated from China and caused a global pandemic that killed 800 people back in 2003.
Currently, Hong Kong has eight confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. The news comes as the city is currently at odds with the Beijing government after eight continuous months of pro-democracy protests. The city’s chief executive Carrie Lam eventually caved in with widespread public demand and political pressure to limit travel and access from the mainland.
China has given out a notice to its citizens to refrain from traveling and stay in their homes as the government struggles to contain the outbreak. Millions of Chinese citizens have already traveled out of the country before Wuhan was under complete lockdown. Neighboring countries like the Philippines were forced to send back Chinese tourists in an effort to protect its citizens from the deadly outbreak.