In response to new Covid travel restrictions coming into effect today for Chinese arrivals in many countries around the world, the Chinese government has issued a scathing rebuke, calling the measures ‘discriminatory’ and is threatening to retaliate with new measures of its own . own.
When China recently announced that it would finally open its borders on January 8 to allow non-residents to enter the country, it appeared as if Chinese residents would also be able to leave the country and travel around the world – something that has been off limits to many. travelers since March 2020.
However, this week, Covid testing for arrivals from China is set to resume at many airports around the world. It is a response to the rise of Covid in much of the Chinese population after strict domestic restrictions were eased.
As of January 5, the US has put in place new rules requiring all air passengers to show a negative result from a test taken within 48 hours before departure from China, Hong Kong or Macau (for travelers aged 2 years and older). . The US State Department also recently reissued a Level 3 travel advisory, which urges Americans to reconsider travel to the country.
Other countries such as Australia, Canada, the UK and Japan also issued travel restrictions for Covid. France will mandate that anyone arriving by plane from China from Wednesday 4 January will need a negative Covid test result obtained no more than 48 hours before arrival – and travelers will also be liable for tests random on arrival.
China has responded by saying that such measures are discriminatory and that they are put in place to fulfill “political goals”—something that Bloomberg seen as proof of how politically sensitive the topic of Covid is for the Chinese government.
At a briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Mao Ning said, “we believe that the entry restrictions adopted by some countries targeting China have no scientific basis, and some excessive practices are even more unacceptable.”
Ning added that China “is opposed to attempts to manipulate the Covid measures for political purposes and will take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity”.
However, the US and other countries were quick to defend the new Covid travel restrictions. French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne told France-Info radio that her government was simply protecting the French, according to its role.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that the US was simply following scientific advice. The US has expressed concerns about the efficacy of Chinese vaccination against Covid, and the UN and World Health Organization have also publicly expressed concern about the lack of transparency in Chinese data on the spread of Covid, hospitalizations and deaths from the virus.
Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers told ABC news the new pre-flight testing restrictions were not particularly onerous for Chinese visitors.
Indeed, they mimic China’s new rules for travelers to its own country – from January 8, travelers to China will be required to show a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours before departure. They will no longer be required to quarantine for 3-5 days, as is currently the case.
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