China issues travel warning to Czech Republic amid infection surge

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/11 22:58:40

A view of the empty Old Town Square in Prague, the Czech Republic Photo: Xinhua

China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued a travel warning on Chinese people traveling to the Czech Republic, citing the country's recent surge in COVID-19 infections.

In a circular posted on its website, the ministry said a recent and rapid surge of COVID-19 in the central European country has been noted, and advised Chinese travelers to temporarily withhold their travel plans to that country.

The Czech Republic reported 1,382 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest single-day tally to date, Reuters reported on Friday.

The surge on Thursday followed a renewed spike in infections, and brought the total number of infections in the central European country to 32,413. 

Czech authorities ordered residents to wear a face mask inside buildings, as the number of daily new cases topped 1,000 for the first time.

The central European country recently irritated Chinese netizens after its Senate Speaker Milos Vystrcil's visit to the island of Taiwan, a move seen as crossing the Chinese "red-line" and violating the one-China principle. 

Although the ministry cited the pandemic as the reason for the warning, Chinese netizens appear to be more willing to see the travel warning as a form of punishment to the Czech Republic for Vystrcil's recent visit to the island of Taiwan. 

"Oops, looks like the Czech Republic is blacklisted," a Sina Weibo user said on Friday, as the topic became one of the most discussed on Friday morning. Many others simply left a comment, "Roger that."

Global travel has been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected 27.73 million people as of Friday, World Health Organization data shows. 

In 2019, 612,000 Chinese tourists visited the Czech Republic, the fourth most popular European destination behind Germany, Slovakia and Poland.

The Chinese government has strongly condemned the visit. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China will make Vystrcil and anti-China forces behind him "pay a heavy price for their shortsighted behavior and political opportunism."

Vystrcil's visit was also denounced at home by Czech President Milos Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

Chinese state media have been suggesting that those in Vystrcil's 89-member delegation and accompanying enterprises be banned from entering the Chinese market, citing sources.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued a travel warning to Australia and the US.

Global Times 

Posted in: SOCIETY

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