China’s Guangxi region tightens border controls amid rise in imported coronavirus cases

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s southwestern Guangxi region, which has borders with Vietnam, has suspended cross-border passenger transportation and restricted exit of citizens from the country amid concerns of an increase in imported coronavirus cases.

It has closed most ports except for a few being used for freight transportation, the Guangxi health commission said in a statement late on Friday.

Regions around China’s porous borders with Southeast Asia have been scrambling to plug border gaps as thousands flood into a country seen as a safe haven in the global war against the coronavirus pandemic which has infected more than 1 million people globally.

As of Friday, the total number of confirmed cases across the country stood at 81,639, including 19 new infections, of which 18 were imported cases, the National Health Commission said.

Guangxi’s recent move does not allow Chinese citizens, including those living near the border areas, to leave China through land or waterway transportation.

Businesses involved in foreign aid projects, foreign investment, technical support and emergency medical assistance have to submit a written application and a list of exit personnel to the epidemic prevention and control headquarters in the district where the exit port is located, and leave the country collectively after approval.

Crew on inbound ships are not allowed to disembark, the notice said.

“It is strictly forbidden for Chinese ships and foreign ships to conduct maritime transactions and supplies, and illegal employment of foreign personnel to work in our ships is strictly prohibited,” the statement said.

Drivers of Vietnamese trucks are limited to unloading yard activities and have to leave on the same day.

The general public is being encouraged to report illegal immigration with offers for cash rewards between 3,000 to 10,000 yuan, according to the statement.

Reporting by Sophie Yu and Shivani Singh; Editing by Frances Kerry and Christina Fincher

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