China announced a ban on the entry of foreign visitors into the country on Friday after the number of its imported coronavirus cases jumped to 54.
Non-nationals living in China with valid visas and resident permits will be blocked from returning to the country after midnight on Friday night, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said it was a “temporary measure that China is compelled to take in light of the outbreak situation.”
Many Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, have also imposed a compulsory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals from abroad.
There were nearly 1,100 return international passenger flights scheduled to come to China this week.
In recent weeks, China’s tally of local transmission has dwindled tremendously with only a few cases reported every day. But just as the country appears to bring the outbreak under control, nations around the globe have been battling to control soaring numbers of infections in new hotspots.
According to the National Health Commission, 55 COVID-19 cases were reported in the country on Friday of which 54 were imported.