China temporarily banned foreign nationals from entry Thursday to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The Foreign Ministry said the decision was made to prevent the foreign-based spread of the virus and will be implemented Sunday.
It noted foreigners with residence permits and visa liberalization will also be temporarily suspended but foreign missions’ workers are excluded from the restriction.
The National Health Commission announced 81,285 diagnosed cases and 3,287 deaths from the virus known as COVID-19.
After first appearing in Wuhan last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 175 countries and territories. The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.
The number of confirmed cases worldwide has now surpassed 511,000 while the death toll is higher than 23,000 with nearly 121,000 patients having recovered, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.
Italy, China, Iran, and Spain continue to be the countries hardest hit.
Despite the rising number of cases, most people who contract the virus suffer only mild symptoms before making a recovery.
*Writing by Davut Demircan