As China’s international travel restarts, COVID restrictions increase

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With the resumption of international travel, nations are enforcing fresh COVID restrictions on visitors from China, says an article from euronews.

As a result of an increase in cases, France, Italy, and Spain have so far imposed stricter regulations for travelers from China.

According to the health minister’s announcement last month, Italy was the first member of the EU to impose stricter regulations, requiring COVID-19 antigen swabs and viral sequencing for all travelers arriving from China.

Spain is the second European nation to implement COVID restrictions on Chinese visitors, who must now present proof of immunization or a negative test result.

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France has declared that, starting on January 5, all passengers arriving from China would need to pass a negative PCR or antigen test conducted fewer than 48 hours before boarding. Initially, France had claimed that further border checks weren’t necessary.

The Belgian mayor has also called for COVID checks on Chinese tourists entering the country. As part of new measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the government announced on Monday that it will test wastewater from planes arriving from China for new COVID variants.

An EU-wide decision on the issue has yet to be reached, with discussions set to resume on Wednesday, January 4th.

The UK has reversed its initial statement that it has no plans to reinstate COVID-19 testing for Chinese visitors. The Department of Health announced on Friday that a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test will be required as of January 5, 2019.

However, according to a report in The Independent on Monday, Chinese passengers arriving in the UK next week will not be subjected to mandatory COVID-19 tests.

Which other nations have COVID restrictions in place for visitors from China?

Australia, Canada, India, Israel, Malaysia, Morocco, Qatar, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States have all implemented additional COVID measures for Chinese arrivals.

After initially stating that it would not reintroduce testing, Australia has announced that beginning on January 5, travelers arriving from China will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test.

According to Ottawa, air travelers from China must test negative for COVID-19 no more than two days before departure.

For visitors arriving from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, or Thailand, a COVID-19 negative test report is required. Passengers from those countries who exhibit symptoms or test positive will be quarantined.

According to the Times of Israel, Israel’s newly appointed Health Minister Aryeh Deri has announced new COVID-19 testing requirements for Chinese travelers.

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Malaysia has increased its tracking and surveillance measures. It will screen all inbound travelers for fever and test COVID-19-infected wastewater from aircraft arriving from China.

From the 3rd of January, Morocco will impose a ban on all nationalities arriving from China.

Qatar will require travelers arriving from China to provide a negative COVID-19 test result obtained within 48 hours of departure beginning on January 3, according to the state news agency QNA.

Japan says it will require a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival for Chinese visitors, with those who test positive subjected to a week in quarantine. Tokyo also intends to limit the number of flights to China.

On-arrival PCR tests for Chinese visitors have been implemented in South Korea. Beginning on January 5, the country will also require a negative test result within 48 hours or a rapid antigen test within 24 hours of departure. Short-term visas for Chinese nationals are also being restricted.

On-arrival PCR testing for all passengers on direct flights from China to Taiwan, as well as by boat at two offshore islands, has been implemented.

The Philippines is also considering imposing tests and has increased surveillance on symptomatic Chinese passengers.

US officials are also tightening controls, citing “lack of transparent data” from Beijing. Beginning on January 5, all air passengers aged two and up will be required to have a negative test result no more than two days before departure from China, Hong Kong, or Macao.

Why are nations concerned about entering Chinese travelers?

The continued COVID-19 outbreaks in China and the absence of transparent data, including viral genome sequence data, being reported from the PRC [People’s Republic of China] have raised growing concerns in the international community, according to US officials on Tuesday.

On December 26, testing had already begun at Milan’s principal airport, Malpensa, on travelers arriving from Beijing and Shanghai. The results revealed that nearly one in every two travelers was sick.

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