THE UNITED STATES is considering following Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and India in imposing restrictions on arrivals from China now that Beijing is to allow its citizens to travel internationally again from January 7.
European countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom are monitoring the situation.
Traffic to web travel sites in China has sharply increased since authorities announced the coming lifting of the last of the zero-Covid restrictions earlier this week.
Searches for Hong Kong, which has now lifted all its Covid restrictions, Macau and neighbouring countries like South Korea, Japan and Thailand, were the most popular.
However, it will take some time for airlines to restore capacity on their China routes. Business travel is likely to rebound before tourist trips.
Nonetheless, foreign countries are concerned by the number of infected travellers arriving and the possibility that new virus mutations will occur within a population among which the infection rate is surging.
At this point, new mutations are a theoretical possibility more than an immediate threat.
Restrictions are likely to include a requirement for visitors to be fully vaccinated and to show a recent negative test.
The United States already requires the former of all arrivals, but not the latter. A mandatory negative test on arrival from China is one measure under consideration. Malaysia, Japan and Taiwan now require it.
Responding to a question about the prospect of restrictions, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin highlighted the need for more international travel to maintain the stability of global supply chains and restore the growth of the world economy, underlying the economic imperatives currently driving China’s public health policy.
- The United States is to require all arrivals from China to show a negative Covid test.
- Italy says it will test all arrivals from China after almost half of the passengers on two flights to Milan from China were found to have the virus.
- However, the EU is saying that screening all arrivals from China is unjustified at this point as the BF7 omicron variant that is prevalent in China is already present in Europe but has failed to become dominant.