© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Travellers walk with their luggage at Beijing Capital International Airport, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China December 27, 2022. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang
(Reuters) -Authorities around the world are imposing or considering curbs on travellers from China as COVID-19 cases there surged following its relaxation of “zero-COVID” rules. China has rejected criticism of its COVID data.
PLACES IMPOSING CURBS
The United States imposed mandatory COVID-19 tests on travellers from China beginning Jan. 5. All air passengers aged two and older will require a negative result from a test no more than two days before departure from China, Hong Kong or Macau. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said U.S. citizens should reconsider travel to China, Hong Kong and Macau.
European Union government officials recommended last Wednesday that passengers flying from China to the EU should have a negative COVID-19 test before they board. They also suggested all passenger on flights to and from China should wear face masks, that EU governments introduce random testing of passengers arriving from China and that they test and sequence wastewater in airports with international flights and planes arriving from China.
Germany is working to implement new entry rules for travellers from China as soon as possible, but it is not possible to say when the first flight will be affected, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said last Thursday.
Air travellers to Greece from China must show they have tested negative for COVID-19 48 hours before arrival, a new requirement that will be announced shortly, two government officials said last Thursday.
Sweden will require travelers from China to show they have tested negative for COVID before they can enter the country, the government said.
The UK will require a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test for passengers from China as of Jan. 5, the Department of Health said on Friday.
France will require travellers from China to provide a negative COVID test result less than 48 hours before departure.
Starting Jan. 1, France will carry out random PCR COVID tests upon arrival on travellers coming from China, a government official told reporters.
France has urged all 26 other European Union member states to test Chinese travellers for COVID.
Travellers from China to Australia will need to submit a negative COVID-19 test from Jan. 5, Australian Health Minister Mark Butler said.
The country has mandated a COVID-19 negative test report for travellers arriving from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand. Passengers from those countries will be quarantined if they show symptoms or test positive.
Air travellers to Canada from China must test negative for COVID-19 no more than two days before departure, Ottawa said.
The country will require negative coronavirus test results within 72 hours of passengers boarding direct flights from China, the prime minister said on Jan. 4. That is in addition to an existing regulation that passengers who had been in China in the seven days prior to their flight will be subject to a COVID-19 test on arrival in Japan. Those who test positive will be required to quarantine for seven days.
Italy has ordered COVID-19 antigen swabs and virus sequencing for all travellers from China. Milan’s main airport, Malpensa, has already started testing passengers arriving from Beijing and Shanghai.
Spain will require a negative COVID-19 test or a full course of vaccination against the disease upon arrival for travellers from China.
Malaysia will screen all inbound travellers for fever and test wastewater from aircraft arriving from China for COVID-19.
Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre said all passengers on direct flights from China, as well as by boat at two offshore islands, will have to take PCR tests upon arrival, starting on Jan. 1.
South Korea will require travellers from China, Macau and Hong Kong to provide negative COVID test results before departure, health authorities said.
Morocco will impose a ban on people arriving from China, whatever their nationality, from Jan. 3.
Qatar will require travellers arriving from China from Jan. 3 to provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours of departure, state news agency QNA said.
Belgium will test wastewater from planes arriving from China for new COVID variants as part of new steps against the spread of the coronavirus, the government announced on Monday.
Newly appointed Health Minister Aryeh Deri announced new COVID-19 testing requirements for travellers from China, joining other nations imposing restrictions because of a surge of infections, according to the Times of Israel.
The Netherlands will require travellers from China to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test before they can enter the country, the Dutch government said on Friday. The requirement will be enforced from Tuesday.
Portugal will require air travellers from China to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test done no more than two days before departure, its health ministry said last Friday.
The requirement took effect on Sunday and Portugal said passengers from China on Saturday could be subject to random testing “for genomic sequencing of the variants in circulation, in order to contribute to an adequate assessment of the epidemiological situation”.
From early Monday, Thailand will require international travellers to show proof of full COVID vaccination before flying into the country, its aviation regulator said on Sunday.
As Thailand prepares for more tourists following China’s reopening, it required foreign travellers to prove they are vaccinated or provide a letter certifying that they have recovered from COVID within six months.
Unvaccinated travellers must show a medical certificate explaining why they have not received the vaccine.
PLACES MONITORING SITUATION
The Philippines sees a need to intensify monitoring and implementation of border controls for incoming individuals especially from China, Manila’s health ministry said.