NewsCovid in China: the US and other countries tighten...

Covid in China: the US and other countries tighten the rules for travelers from the Asian country due to the increase in cases

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The United States has become the latest country to impose mandatory covid tests on travelers from China, after Beijing announced that it will reopen its borders in the coming days.

Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and India have also introduced stricter measures.

After almost three years of restrictions, China will allow people to travel more easily from January 8.

At the same time, the country is facing an increase in covid cases.

That has led to prevention in several countries, but Beijing said coronavirus rules should be incorporated on a “scientific” basis, accusing some countries and the media of “exaggerating” the situation.

International tension

This week, China announced that it will ease its travel restrictions to and from the country.

As of January 8, the quarantine for travelers arriving in China will end and passport applications for Chinese citizens will resume, authorities said.

Travel sites reported an increase in traffic after the announcements, as some countries revised their travel regulations.

The United States reported that all passengers traveling from China, Hong Kong and Macao will need a negative covid test to enter the country in order to “slow down the spread” of the virus.

In a statement, the US Department of Health said air passengers should be tested for covid no more than two days before departure.

He also accused China of failing to provide “adequate and transparent” covid data, which is “crucial” to monitor infection surges “effectively” as well as decrease the chances of new variants emerging.

Earlier, Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, accused Western countries and media of “exaggerating” and “distorting China’s covid policy adjustments.”

He said China believes that all countries’ responses to COVID-19 should be “proportionate and based on science” and “should not affect normal people-to-people exchange.”

Wang called for “joint efforts to ensure safe cross-border travel, maintain the stability of global industrial supply chains, and promote economic recovery and growth.”

Response from other countries

Italy, once the global epicenter of the virus after it spread from China in late 2019 and into 2020, has also said it will implement mandatory Covid tests for all passengers coming from that country.

Italian Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said this is “essential to ensure surveillance and identification” of any new variant of the virus and to “protect the Italian population.”

Before his announcement, flights arriving in Milan were already testing passengers flying from China for covid.

On a flight that landed at the Malpensa airport on December 26, it was found that 52% of the passengers tested positive for covid, according to the La Repubblica media outlet.

Several countries had already imposed some restrictions on travelers from China:

  • In Japan, starting Friday all travelers from China and those who have visited in the last seven days will be tested for Covid upon arrival, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said. Those who test positive will be required to quarantine for seven days if they have symptoms, or five days if they are asymptomatic. The number of flights to and from China will also be restricted.
  • In India, people traveling from China and four other Asian countries must present a negative covid test before arrival. Passengers will be quarantined if they have symptoms or test positive.
  • Taiwan says that people arriving on flights from China, as well as by boat to two islands, will be required to take Covid tests upon arrival from January 1 to 31. Those who test positive will be able to isolate at home, the Taiwan Epidemic Central Command Center said.
  • Malaysia has also implemented additional monitoring and surveillance measures.

Britain and Germany said they are monitoring the situation closely but are not considering new restrictions for travelers from China.

In Belgium, the mayor of the Bruges resort called on Chinese visitors to undergo covid tests or mandatory vaccination requirements.

Lack of clarity

The actual number of daily cases and deaths in China is unknown because officials have stopped publishing the data.

Reports say that hospitals are overwhelmed and older people are dying.

Last week, Beijing reported over 4,000 new covid infections every day and few deaths.

Despite the increase in infections, China has continued with its program of easing its strict measures against covid.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong announced that it was removing the remaining restrictions, except for the use of face masks, which remains mandatory.

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