Hubei suspends passport application to curb coronavirus outbreak
Global Times


A man wearing a mask walks past a commercial area in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, on January 26, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

The exit and entry department in central China's Hubei Province has suspended the services for the application of ordinary passports and exit-entry permits and endorsements for Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan to better control the spread of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). 

No passengers have left the Chinese mainland for the past four days via the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport or the Hankou port, according to a release from the National Immigration Administration (NIA). 

The NIA said special channels will be opened for individuals who have to leave the mainland for urgent reasons. 

By the end of Sunday, a total of 1,423 cumulative confirmed cases of new pneumonia had been reported in Hubei, with 76 deaths and 221 cases in severe condition. Forty-four patients have been discharged from the hospital. 

Holders of valid endorsements to Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan who are affected by the epidemic and fail to enter the above places within the validity period can re-apply for certificates of the same type and validity period for free when the outbreak is over, said the NIA. 

Parts of the automated self-service channels are being suspended and changed to manual channels, according to the statement. 

As some countries and regions have prohibited the entry or departure of people from key areas of the coronavirus outbreak on the mainland, the exit and entry offices at all ports continue to provide convenient services to citizens coming back to China, said the NIA. 

The NIA required immigration departments at all levels to work with medical and health care organizations to carry out necessary screening and assist with the management of people for medical observation or isolation.