Sunday, January 1, 2023

China seeing ‘9000 deaths a day’ as its state media calls travel restrictions ‘discriminatory’

China seeing ‘9000 deaths a day’ as its state media calls travel restrictions ‘discriminatory’

Jan 1 2023


Chinese state-media have railed against the growing number of foreign governments imposing COVID-19 tests on travellers from China, calling the measures "discriminatory."

Having kept its borders all but shut for three years, imposing a strict regime of lockdowns and relentless testing, Beijing abruptly reversed course toward living with the virus on Dec. 7, and infections have spread rapidly in recent weeks.
South Korea and Spain on Friday joined a growing list of countries, including the United States, India and others, which have imposed COVID tests for travellers from China over concerns about the scale of its COVID outbreak and skepticism over Beijing's health statistics.
Malaysia said it would screen all international arrivals for fever.

"The real intention is to sabotage China's three years of COVID-19 control efforts and attack the country's system," state-run tabloid Global Times said in an article late on Thursday, calling the restrictions "unfounded" and "discriminatory."

China will stop requiring inbound travellers to go into quarantine from Jan. 8. But it will still demand a negative PCR test result within 48 hours before departure.

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

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


Not all countries are imposing tests. European Union members, in particular, are divided.

Over the past days, officials in France, Germany and Portugal have said they saw no need for now for new restrictions, while Austria has stressed the economic benefits of Chinese tourists' return to Europe.

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

Acting a day after EU health officials failed to agree on a joint course of action, Spain followed Italy's lead to become the second of the bloc's 27 members to require tests for travelers from China.

"At a national level, we will implement airport controls requiring all passengers coming from China to show a negative COVID-19 test or proof of a full vaccination course," Health Minister Carolina Darias said.

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