Eastern Chinese city quarantines arrivals from Japan, South Korea for coronavirus

BEIJING (Reuters) – The eastern Chinese city of Weihai said it would quarantine people arriving from Japan and South Korea from Tuesday, as a spike in cases of the novel coronavirus in neighboring countries adds to the threat facing China.

The move marks the first country-specific compulsory quarantine requirement for arrivals from overseas in China, which has criticized travel restrictions implemented by other countries.

Weihai, home to a sizeable Korean expatriate community, is near the eastern tip of the Shandong peninsula across the Yellow Sea from South Korea.

The rules apply both to Chinese and foreign nationals arriving in the city.

They will be put up in hotels free of charge for the duration of a 14-day quarantine period, according to a notice on the city’s official Wechat account.

The capital, Beijing, earlier this month told residents returning from extended Lunar New Year holidays to self-quarantine to stop the virus spreading.

Central China’s Hubei province, where more than 2,500 people have died, is the epicenter of the outbreak, but South Korea has now reported 10 deaths and almost 1,000 infections.

Japan has 159 confirmed cases, not including 691 on a cruise ship that was quarantined near Tokyo.

People who arrived in the city from South Korea or Japan from Feb. 10 onwards have already been contacted by the Weihai government, the statement said, adding it had “appropriately handled” cases of fever.

The government of a second Shandong port city, Yantai, on Tuesday decided that all business travelers and short-term visitors to the city should stay in designated hotels, it said in a statement.

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