Singapore on Friday announced a sweeping ban on arrivals and transit passengers from mainland China as authorities toughened measures to prevent the spread of a deadly virus.

The move was a dramatic expansion of earlier measures by Singapore that affected only arrivals from central Hubei province and came after the World Health Organization declared the new coronavirus an international emergency.

“We are likely to see a sharper rise in the spread of the virus to Chinese cities beyond Hubei in the coming days… so the task force has decided to take additional measures now to restrict travel,” Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said at a media briefing.

Singapore. File photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

“All new visitors with recent travel history to China within the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter into Singapore or to transit through Singapore,” added Wong, who co-chairs the government task force leading the response to the virus.

“We will suspend the issuance of all forms of new visas to those holding (China) passports.”

Singapore’s international airport is one of the busiest in Asia.

Wong said, however, there are no plans to cancel the Singapore Airshow, one of the biggest aviation industry events in the world, scheduled from February 11-16.

Singapore has at least 13 confirmed infections of the virus, which has claimed the lives of 213 people in mainland China. All of the confirmed cases in Singapore are from Wuhan, capital of Hubei.

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