Several countries around the world are imposing preventive measures on travelers from China as the number of Covid-19 cases in the country continue to grow. After almost three years of strict zero-Covid policies, China is starting to ease some of its restrictions, internally and internationally.
The country will lift restrictions on Chinese citizens’ overseas trips and disease control measures targeting inbound travelers starting from January 8, 2023. China has started issuing passports for its citizens and visas for foreigners again, after stopping the procedures in March 2020. After relaxing some travel restrictions last month, it has been announced that mandatory quarantine periods will also be significantly shortened as of January.
Despite the initial hope, a new wave of infections seems to be spreading across the country. Official numbers cite about 5,000 cases per day, but many think the number is severely misinforming, the BBC reporting the “daily case load may be closer to a million”, with overwhelmed hospitals and a nationwide lack of basic medicine.
The ECDC stated that the introduction of mandatory Covid screenings of travelers from China was “unjustified”, as the Mission of China to the EU reports, adding that the ECDC believes Covid-19 variants in China were already circulating in the EU. There are nonetheless a number of countries imposing curbs on travelers coming from the Asian country.
- UK: On Friday December 30th, the Department of Health announced that from January 5th, passengers from China would need to present a pre-departure negative Covid-19 test.
- US: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, announced that US citizens should reconsider travel to China, Hong Kong and Macau. From January 5th, the US will impose mandatory Covid-19 tests on travelers from China. According to CNBC, air passengers aged two and older will require a negative test result not older than two days before departure from China, Hong Kong or Macau.
- Belgium: Belgium will test wastewater from planes arriving from China for new Covid variants as part of new steps against the spread of the coronavirus as infections in China surge.
- Australia: Australian health minister Mark Butler has announced that from January 5th, passengers will need to present a negative test.
- Malaysia: Minister Zaliha Mustafa announced that all inbound passengers will be screened for fever. Wastewater will also be tested from aircraft arriving from China.
- France: France’s health and transport ministries announced that passengers coming from China need to show a negative Covid test less than 48 hours before departure.
- South Korea: South Korea’s News1 news agency announced that travelers from China have to show a negative before departure.
- Japan: According to CNBC, new border measures for China went into effect at midnight on December 30th. Negative tests are now required upon arrival, and those who test positive will have to quarantine for seven days. Authorities are also limiting requests from airlines to increase flights to China.
- Italy: The country has already begun testing travelers arriving from China. Passengers on two flights landing at Milan’s Malpensa airport earlier this week were tested and the results were a sound of alarm. Guido Bertolaso, Lombardy regional councilor for welfare, revealed that, on the first flight, 35 out of 95 passengers tested positive (38%), while on the second flight, 62 out of 120 passengers tested positive (52%).
- Spain: The country’s Health Minister Carolina Darias announced that arriving travelers from China will need to present require a negative test or a full course of vaccination.
- Morocco: The foreign ministry has announced that from January 3rd, the country will impose a ban on people arriving from China, regardless of their nationality.
- India: Passengers arriving from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Thailand, will need to show a negative test. Those who show symptoms or test positive will have to follow quarantine measures.
- Canada: travelers must show a negative test not older than 48 hours before departure.