UK territory of Gibraltar bans people entering from coronavirus-hit areas

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·2-min read
A visitor wearing protective face mask and Minnie Mouse costume, following an outbreak of the coronavirus, is seen outside Tokyo Disneyland in Urayasu, east of Tokyo, Japan February 28, 2020.  REUTERS/Issei Kato
A woman wearing a protective face mask in Urayasu, Japan, on Friday. Gibraltar has said it stopped several Japanese tourists entering the territory (REUTERS/Issei Kato)

The UK territory of Gibraltar has started banning people entering from coronavirus-hit countries.

In a document sent to the Japanese embassy in London and seen by Yahoo News UK, Gibraltar said it “may deny” entry to people who have visited any of 16 “dangerous countries” which have been hit by coronavirus.

It said nearly all people who have been to “parts of the Canary Islands” have been banned.

It added several Japanese tourists have also been denied entry. It comes as the first British death from coronavirus – a man on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan – was confirmed on Friday.

Cars queue to cross the border between Spain and Gibraltar, in La Linea de la Concepcion, Spain, Friday Jan. 31, 2020. Britain officially leaves the European Union on Friday after a debilitating political period that has bitterly divided the nation since the 2016 Brexit referendum. (AP Photo/Javier Fergo)
A file image of the border between Spain and Gibraltar (AP/Javier Fergo)

Gibraltar, in southern Spain, is one of 14 British Overseas Territories. It is self-governing apart from foreign policy and defence, which is controlled by the UK.

Its coronavirus policy is a marked contrast to the UK, which has not enforced any entry bans.

Read more: Two new coronavirus cases confirmed in England and first in Wales brings UK total to 19

Anyone who has been to one of the 16 listed countries or regions must declare this when attempting to enter Gibraltar, the document said.

The list of “at-risk” areas where people must declare they have visited are China, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Iran, northern Italy (the area above the line connecting Pisa, Florence and Rimini), Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Tenerife (which is part of the Canary Islands).

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The document said: “It is stipulated that entry may be denied, and several Japanese tourists who have recently attempted to travel to Gibraltar have been denied entry by an official of the authority at a screening gate to enter Gibraltar.

“According to the ‘coronavirus emergency response regulations’, the travel restriction measures are effective until 11 March, but depending on the future situation, the number of countries listed on the above ‘dangerous countries’ list may increase.

“Since the possibility of extending the validity period cannot be ruled out, it is recommended that those planning to travel to Gibraltar gather the latest information from the press release on the Gibraltar Authority website.”

Yahoo News UK has contacted the UK Foreign Office for comment.