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Taiwan to extend halt on all tours to China until end of February

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Photo courtesy of CNA

Taipei, Jan. 30 (CNA) The suspension of all tours to China imposed on Taiwanese travel agencies will be further extended until the end of February as cases of the novel coronavirus continue to increase, the Tourism Bureau said Thursday.

The decision was made after a meeting between tour operators and local officials, including Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung, Tourism Bureau Director-General Chou Yung-hui and Chen Wen-ruey, who heads the transportation ministry's Department of Railways and Highways.

In a release, the bureau said the meeting was mainly about better understanding the current situation faced by travel agencies impacted by the suspension, and to discuss plans to boost the country's tourism industry.

On Jan. 24, the Tourism Bureau issued a notice to tour operators ordering the suspension of all tours to China, to take effect the following day and last until Jan. 31.

The announcement came after Beijing that day ordered a halt to inbound and outbound group tours amid the outbreak of a deadly respiratory virus in China.

On Thursday, the bureau said the decision to extend the tour suspension until Feb. 29 also applies to tours that include a transit stop in China.

The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, has so far affected thousands and killed at least 170 people in China.

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