Feb 3, 2020 - World

How the world is responding to the coronavirus outbreak

Waiting and worrying at the airport in Manila. Photo: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

China reacted furiously today to a U.S. decision to deny entry to all foreign nationals who had been to China in the past two weeks, denouncing it as a violation of WHO advice that would only spread fear.

The big picture: Some public health experts warn that travel bans are ineffective in fighting outbreaks and discourage international cooperation and transparency. But several governments are now employing them amid the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Any American who visited Hubei province over the past two weeks, meanwhile, will be quarantined for up to 14 days.

The global picture: Australia is also barring foreigners who recently visited China, and it has evacuated citizens from Wuhan to remote Christmas Island.

  • Other countries are denying entry to foreigners traveling directly from China (Japan, South Korea), while still more have suspended flights from China (Indonesia, the U.K., Italy), per the BBC.

Russia, which has been carefully tightening its bond with China, took the politically delicate step of closing most of its shared border to people (but not goods).

  • Mongolia also closed its border with China, giving citizens until Feb. 6 to return home.

Hong Kong's position is perhaps most sensitive of all.

  • Carrie Lam, the city's Beijing-friendly leader, said today that she'd close more border checkpoints but not meet the demands of striking hospital workers to close the border entirely.

But some Southeast Asian countries have seemed to focus their public responses on not provoking China, the NY Times reports.

  • "In Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen told a packed news conference on Thursday that he would kick out anyone who was wearing a surgical mask because such measures were creating an unwarranted climate of fear. 'The prime minister doesn’t wear a mask,' he said, 'so why do you?'"
  • Officials from the Philippines had also downplayed the threat but changed course after the first death was reported there.

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