Beijing threatens retaliation over ‘unacceptable’ Covid rules on Chinese travellers
The country is experiencing a deadly surge in coronavirus cases following its relaxation of ‘zero-COVID’ restrictions that were in place for much of the pandemic. Several countries have cited a lack of comprehensive information from China on variants, concern over a wave of infections, and China’s announcement that it was easing curbs on travel from January 8 as the rationale behind the travel requirement.
The US, UK, Australia, and Japan are among the nations that have imposed strict Covid testing requirements on passengers from China. However, the Chinese government has suggested that the recent restrictions are politically motivated, threatening countermeasures against the countries involved.
Covid experts at the World Health Organisation have been frequently urging Beijing to regularly share more data on genetic sequencing, as well as real-time information on the number of hospitalisations, deaths, and vaccinations. The experts “again stressed the importance of transparency” and called the latest precautionary measures “understandable”.
The US has announced mandatory tests for Chinese arrivals, while the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has asked US citizens to reconsider travel to China, Hong Kong, and Macau. The country has defended its restrictions, saying its approach is based “solely and exclusively on science”.
The French government has made it mandatory for Chinese travellers to provide a negative test result less than 48 hours before departure. It has also requested all 26 other EU member states to impose mandatory Covid tests on passengers from the Asian country.
It’s not the first time that the Chinese government has been at odds with the international community over coronavirus. In fact, the deadly virus was first detected in central China in 2019, but the government resisted attempts to examine its origins.
Furthermore, the Asian country recently rejected an offer from the EU to supply an undisclosed number of vaccines to help deal with the surge in Covid cases. The government has so far been adamant about using only Chinese-made vaccines, which have shown less efficacy against the Omicron variant – in comparison to the Western-developed mRNA vaccines.