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Covid-19: More countries impose restrictions on travellers from China

Authorities around the world are imposing or considering curbs on travellers from China as Covid-19 cases in the country surge following its relaxation of “zero-Covid” rules.

(Xinhua/Cheong Kam Ka)

They cite a lack of information from China on variants and are concerned about a wave of infections. China has rejected criticism of its Covid data and said it expected future mutations to be potentially more transmissible but less severe.

Places imposing curbs

The United States will impose mandatory Covid-19 tests on travellers from China beginning on 5 January. All air passengers aged two and older will require a negative result from a test no more than two days before departure from China, Hong Kong or Macau.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said US citizens should also reconsider travel to China, Hong Kong and Macau.

The UK will require a pre-departure negative Covid-19 test from passengers from China as of 5 January, the Department of Health said on Friday.

France will require travellers from China to provide a negative Covid-19 test result less than 48 hours before departure, the health and transport ministries said on Friday.

From 1 January, France will also carry out random PCR Covid-19 tests upon arrival on some travellers coming from China, a government official told reporters.

India has mandated a Covid-19 negative test report for travellers arriving from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Thailand, the health minister said. Passengers from those countries will be quarantined if they show symptoms or test positive.

Japan will require a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival for travellers from mainland China. Those who test positive will be required to quarantine for seven days. New border measures for China went into effect at midnight on 30 December. The government will also limit requests from airlines to increase flights to China.

Italy has ordered Covid-19 antigen swabs and virus sequencing for all travellers from China.

Milan’s main airport, Malpensa, had already started testing passengers arriving from Beijing and Shanghai.

“The measure is essential to ensure surveillance and detection of possible variants of the virus in order to protect the Italian population,” Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said.

Spain will require a negative Covid-19 test or a full course of vaccination against the disease upon arrival for travellers from China, the country’s Health Minister Carolina Darias said.

Malaysia will screen all inbound travellers for fever and test wastewater from aircraft arriving from China for Covid-19, Minister Zaliha Mustafa said in a statement.

Taiwan‘s Central Epidemic Command Centre said all passengers on direct flights from China, as well as by boat at two offshore islands, will have to take PCR tests upon arrival, starting on 1 January.

South Korea will require travellers from China to provide negative Covid-19 test results before departure, South Korea’s News1 news agency reported on Friday.

Places monitoring the situation

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia was monitoring the situation in respect of China “as we continue to monitor the impact of Covid here in Australia as well as around the world.”

Philippines is being “very cautious” and could impose measures such as testing requirements on visitors from China, but not an outright ban, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said.