Tajikistan has toughened control over people arriving in the country from China.

The Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Tajikistan has sent letters to the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Tourism Development Committee with solicitation to restrict Tajik nationals’ tourist and business travels to China until the situation connected with coronavirus in that country stabilizes, Deputy Minister of health and Social Protection, Mirhamuddin Kamolzoda, told reporters in Dushanbe yesterday.

According to him, the Ministry of Health keeps the situation under the control and examines all people arriving in Tajikistan from China in order to identify the smallest signs of the disease 

“We just protect our citizens and ask them to temporarily refrain from traveling to China.  We have no right to limit entry of citizens of other countries into our country, but we will examine all people, including Tajik nationals, arriving in Tajikistan from China for security purposes,” Kamolzoda said.  

The situation in Tajikistan is stable and no coronavirus cases have been registered in the country, the health official added.

Meanwhile, some media reports say jump in cases comes as China steps up testing and surveillance for coronavirus that first emerged in Wuhan last month. 

According to Al Jazeera, China's National Health Commission said today that nine people had died from a new coronavirus and 440 people across 13 Chinese provinces had been confirmed to be infected and warned that the still-unidentified virus could mutate.

The number of cases of the infection, known by its technical name 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is greater than the total of more than 300 reported earlier on Tuesday.

The illness is transmitted via the respiratory tract and there “is the possibility of viral mutation and further spread of the disease,” National Health Commission vice minister Li Bin was quoted as saying at a news conference in Beijing.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is holding an emergency meeting today to determine whether to declare a rare global public health emergency over the disease, which has also been confirmed in the United States, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and South Korea.

The WHO was first notified of the Wuhan virus on December 31.  The infection is thought to have originated in a seafood market that also sold illegal wildlife meat, which has now been closed and sealed off.