Beijing fumes at Covid19 rules imposed on travellers from China

BEIJING, 3 Jan 2023:

The Chinese government today slammed decisions by several countries to impose Covid-19 testing requirements for travellers arriving from China – calling these restrictions “disproportionate” and “unacceptable.”

China has seen an exponential increase in Covid cases in recent weeks after lifting its tough zero-Covid policy last month, and has said it will lift travel restrictions on Jan 8 for the first time since March 2020.

Several countries have responded by requiring travellers from the Asian country to present a negative Covid19 test to travel to their territories.

“We do not believe the entry restriction measures some countries have taken against China are science-based. Some of these measures are disproportionate and simply unacceptable,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told a press conference today.

“We firmly reject using Covid19 measures for political purposes and will take corresponding measures in response to varying situations based on the principle of reciprocity.”

The spokeswoman explained China would continue to “adapt and adjust” its pandemic response measures “in light of the latest Covid19 situation” and will seek to “facilitate the safe and orderly cross-border travel of Chinese and foreign nationals and international exchange and cooperation.”

The rapid spread of the virus after the zero-Covid policy was lifted has raised doubts about the reliability of official data on infections and deaths.

Only a handful of deaths from the disease have been reported in recent days and weeks despite the rising infection rates.

The World Health Organisation recently expressed “great concern” about the spread of Covid19 in China and called for “more information” – with Beijing responding that it has shared its data “in an open, timely and transparent manner.”

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week that in the absence of more complete information on the spread of Covid19 in China, it was “understandable” that countries were taking measures to protect their populations.