People wear masks at Beijing South Railway Station in Beijing on Jan 22, 2020. [Photo/Sipa]
The Chinese government has taken a variety of steps to reduce the flow of people to overseas destinations in an effort to curb the spread of a highly contagious pneumonia.
On Tuesday, the National Immigration Administration suspended the issuance of travel permits to Hong Kong and Macao for tourists from the Chinese mainland.
The administration said the move was taken because of the need to prevent and control coronavirus-related pneumonia.
Given that Hong Kong and Macao have adopted some restrictions regarding the entry of mainland residents, the administration suggested that those holding travel permits avoid travel to the two regions if there's no urgent need.
For those with travel permits who don't enter Hong Kong or Macao before the permits expire, the administration will grant new permits identical to the ones now held, the administration said.
Previously the Ministry of Culture and Tourism ordered travel agencies to suspend outbound group tours and do-it-yourself packages that help tourists book flight tickets and hotels.
Tour groups that have already departed can complete the trip as scheduled, but more attention should be paid to the health of travelers, the ministry said.
Also on Tuesday, the Ministry of Education suggested that students and other academics postpone travel abroad. It said they should arrange their travel schedules in accordance with the epidemic's situation in their region as well as entry control measures implemented in some countries and regions.
It said that if it's not necessary to go immediately, postponing the trip is recommended. If there is a special need, travelers should be familiar with the current rules on entry at their destinations, such as arriving at the port of departure in advance to allow sufficient time for quarantine checks.
People with fevers, coughs or other symptoms of respiratory infection should immediately stop traveling and go to hospital, it said.