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DHAKA: Bangladesh has temporarily suspended its visa-on-arrival services for Chinese nationals and asked the authorities not to recruit them for the ongoing projects after the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 360 people and infected over 17,000 others in China spread to 25 countries.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen during a media briefing on Sunday said the government has requested Chinese nationals in Bangladesh not to go on leave especially over the next month while the global health emergency is in place, the BD News reported.

“At the same time, we have requested the authorities not to recruit any Chinese national for the ongoing projects in Bangladesh,” he was quoted as saying.

He, however, said that the move does not bar Chinese nationals from applying for a Bangladeshi visa.

“This is a temporary measure. Chinese nationals can still apply for a visa but they must submit a medical certificate along with the application,” he said.

A number of countries have temporarily stopped issuing visas to Chinese nationals after the coronavirus outbreak.

India on Sunday temporarily suspended e-visa facility for Chinese travellers and foreigners residing in China in view of the virulent coronavirus that has killed 361 people, infected 17,205 others and spread to 25 countries, including India, the US and the UK.

Singapore has stopped issuing all types of visas to Chinese travellers, while Vietnam has halted tourist visas. Russia, a close Beijing ally, announced Saturday it would halt visa-free tourism for Chinese nationals and also stop issuing them work visas. It had already stopped issuing electronic visas to Chinese nationals. Similar visa restrictions have been imposed by the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and the African nation of Mozambique.

A total of 316 Bangladeshi citizens stranded in China’s Wuhan, the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak, returned home on a special flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines on February 1.

Of them 10 were taken to two hospitals in Dhaka for observation.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the outbreak a global health emergency. PTI