South Koreans petition for Chinese to be barred from entry amid virus outbreak

SEOUL – More than half a million South Koreans have signed a petition calling for a ban on people from China entering the country, as Seoul announced on Tuesday (Jan 28) it would evacuate citizens from the epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak.

A petition filed with the presidential Blue House on Thursday had gathered more than 530,000 signatures by Tuesday, highlighting a growing fear in South Korea that the coronavirus could spread widely.

The first confirmed case detected in South Korea was a Chinese national, but the other three so far are South Koreans who had travelled from Wuhan, where the outbreak appears to have started.

That has not stopped the calls for Chinese visitors to be banned.

“Coronavirus is spreading from China. Even North Korea is banning Chinese people from entering the country,” wrote the anonymous author of the petition, adding that even a temporary ban would help stop the virus from spreading too widely.

The Blue House has not directly responded to the petition.

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