COVID travel restrictions against ‘discrimination’ of Chinese tourists- state media According to Reuters

© Reuters. A passenger speaks to a member of the media, after Italy ordered coronavirus disease (COVID-19) antigen testing and virus sequencing for all travelers from China, where cases are increasing, at Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy, December 29, 20

By Bernard Orr and David Latona

BEIJING/MADRID (Reuters) – Chinese state media have criticized an increasing number of foreign governments imposing COVID tests on travelers arriving from China, calling the measures “discriminatory”. trial”.

After closing its borders for three years, imposing a strict lockdown, and relentlessly testing, Beijing abruptly reversed course on December 7, and infections spread rapidly. rapidly in recent weeks.

South Korea and Spain on Friday joined a growing list of countries, including the United States, India and others, that have introduced COVID tests to travelers from China because concerns about the scale of the COVID outbreak and skepticism about Beijing’s health statistics.

Malaysia said it would screen all international arrivals for fever.

“The real intention is to sabotage China’s efforts to control COVID-19 over the past three years and attack its system,” the state-run Global Times newspaper said in an article late on Thursday, called the restrictions “baseless” and “discriminatory”.

China will stop requiring domestic travelers to be quarantined from January 8. However, they will still require a negative PCR test result within 48 hours of departure.

Senior Chinese health officials held a video conference with the World Health Organization on Friday and exchanged views on the current epidemic situation, China’s National Health Commission said. in a statement without further explanation.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said earlier in the day that the organization needed more information to assess the latest increase in infections in China, without taking a position on travel testing. .


Not all countries impose tests. In particular, European Union members are divided.

In the past days, officials in France, Germany and Portugal have said they see no need to impose new restrictions, while Austria has emphasized the economic benefits of returning Chinese tourists to Europe. .

Global spending by Chinese tourists was worth more than $250 billion a year before the pandemic.

Acting a day after EU health officials failed to agree on a joint action, Spain followed Italy to become the second of the bloc’s 27 members to require testing of visitors. travel from China.

“At the national level, we will implement airport controls that require all passengers arriving from China to either test negative for COVID-19 or proof of being fully vaccinated. ,” said Health Secretary Carolina Darias.

EU health experts are expected to hold a crisis response meeting next week, according to an EU source.

Meanwhile, the EU’s chief medical officer Stella Kyriakides has written to the bloc’s health ministers to suggest that they immediately scale up genome sequencing of COVID-19 cases and surveillance. wastewater, including from airports, to detect any new variations due to the virus’s rise in China.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also considering taking wastewater samples from international aircraft to monitor for any new variants emerging, the agency told Reuters.

The United States has raised concerns about potential mutations of the virus as it sweeps through the world’s most populous country, as well as about China’s data transparency.

Meanwhile, the COVID vaccination campaign for German citizens in China has begun its trial phase, German ambassador to Beijing Patricia Flor said on Twitter. A shipment of 11,500 doses of the BioNTech vaccine arrived last week, enough to give one dose to half of the 20,000 German citizens residing in China.


The lifting of restrictions in China, following widespread protests against them in November, has flooded hospitals and funeral homes across the country, with scenes of people receiving intravenous fluids on the sidelines. The streets and rows of hearses outside the crematorium caused public concern.

Health experts say China is ill-prepared for a turnaround in policies that President Xi Jinping has long advocated.

They say the elderly in rural areas may be particularly vulnerable due to insufficient health resources. Next month’s Lunar New Year, when hundreds of millions of dongs go home, the risk will increase.

China, a nation of 1.4 billion people, reported one new COVID death on Thursday, the same as the day before – numbers that don’t match the experiences of other countries after they opened back door.

UK-based health data company Airfinity said on Thursday that around 9,000 people in China could die each day from COVID. The cumulative number of deaths in China since December 1 could reach 100,000, for a total of 18.6 million infections.

China’s chief epidemiologist Wu Zunyou said on Thursday that the difference between the number of deaths during the current wave of infections and the mortality rate during the same period in pandemic-free years will be studied. study to calculate “excess mortality” and assess any underestimation. number of deaths from COVID-19.

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