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Monday, 2 January 2023

Countries impose travel restrictions on China as Covid-19 cases surge

With the pandemic spreading and increasing again, more countries are imposing restrictions on arrivals from China, where coronavirus cases have surged, the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Italy are requiring travellers arriving from China to provide a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding flights.

The scale of the outbreak in China and doubts over official data have prompted the United States, India, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan to impose their own new travel rules on Chinese visitors.

Other countries that have joined in imposing such restrictions include Malaysia, Australia, and the Philippines.

Reports confirmed that France said the tests will have to be done less than 48 hours before departure and will be required on direct flights from China and flights with stopovers, with random tests carried out on passengers on arrival.

Positive tests will be sequenced to check for new variants, the government said.

The UK said it will  require travellers leaving China for Britain to also provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding.

On Friday, December 30, 2022, Spain’s government announced new COVID-19  regulations for passengers arriving at the country’s airports from China.

Such travellers will be required to test negative for COVID-19 or prove they have been fully vaccinated against the disease.

Spanish health minister Carolina Darias told a news conference that Spain would coordinate at a high level with other EU member states to adopt a common policy while pushing for a revision of the current conditions that need to be met by travellers seeking to obtain the EU’s so-called Digital COVID Certificate.

The new measure comes after the European Union’s Health Security Committee met on Thursday to discuss the bloc’s strategy for mitigating the spread of the virus amid an influx of visitors from China after Beijing lifted most of its travel restrictions.

Italy, which had already mandated tests on arrival for all travellers by air from China, called for such measures to be extended across the EU, warning they risked being ineffective if applied in a piecemeal fashion by only some countries within the bloc.

But the EU health committee, which is composed of officials from health ministries across the bloc and chaired by the European Commission, said it believed an EU-wide introduction of mandatory COVID-19 screenings for travellers from China was currently “unjustified”.

On its part, Germany said it was seeking a coordinated system to monitor variants across European airports.

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