After SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that the European Union was planning to restrict visas to Chinese nationals, amid an outbreak of Coronavirus, the Czech Republic has become the first Schengen country to stop granting visas in China.
The move was announced by the Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček who said that the ministry stopped issuing visas to Chinese citizens over the Coronavirus infection and is not accepting new visa applications in China.
“Our visa centers in China are closed at the moment,” he told journalists today, explaining that the Czech Republic actually suspended the issuing of the visas on Wednesday, January 29.
Moreover, he did not exclude that the Czech government may go to extra lengths and introduce more extreme measures in order to prevent any outbreak of the virus within the country, as he confirmed that negotiations about further possible measures are underway.
The move comes just a day after SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that sources within the European Union confirmed the block is preparing to tighten entry conditions for Chinese nationals and those who have traveled to China in recent months, in a bid to prevent the situation getting out of control.
“Immediately after the outbreak of the Coronavirus, representatives of the Member States have been summoned by France, where by the way, have already been detected at least two cases of Coronavirus infection. The block has already decided to activate the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, but if the virus keeps spreading at the current tempo, the EU may introduce entry restrictions by the end of the week to Chinese nationals and recent visitors to mainland China,” one of the sources said.
“Suspension of visa issuance for the nationals of a few countries in addition to China is also an option if the situation does not improve for the better, of course,” the source confirmed, which measure the Czech Republic seemingly has already taken.
He also said that some of the airlines that operate the flights from China could take take such a step themselves.