Beijing threatens “mutual” action against countries that impose COVID tests on travelers

London: China has threatened “reciprocity” with countries requiring travelers from its shores to present negative COVID tests before boarding flights. The British government admitted the measure was only in effect because Beijing did not share COVID data.

Australia joined the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Canada in requiring all travelers to present a negative COVID test taken no more than 48 hours before departure. Travelers on flights to Australia from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau must undergo a proctored, less accurate rapid screening and present documentation to airline staff prior to boarding. The measure begins on January 5 at 00:01.

Masked commuters commute to work during the morning rush hour in Beijing in December 2022.

Masked commuters commute to work during the morning rush hour in Beijing in December 2022.Credit:AP

The move has angered China, which is preparing to welcome international visitors again when it lifts its strict mandatory quarantine rules in place as part of President Xi Jinping’s zero-COVID strategy.

“We firmly oppose the use of COVID measures for political purposes and will take appropriate measures in response to different situations according to the principle of reciprocity,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning.

It was unclear what mutual action would entail, as China already requires a negative PCR test for anyone crossing its borders.

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UK Home Secretary Mark Harper said the country’s health authorities would also randomly test arrivals on a voluntary basis, but anyone who tests positive does not need to be quarantined, noting that one in 45 people in the UK are currently with was infected with the virus.

Officials have advised anyone who has tested positive to stay at home, but added that this has not been a legal requirement in the UK for almost a year.

Harper said the surveillance tests are only happening because Beijing doesn’t share health data with the international community.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/china-threatens-reciprocal-action-against-countries-imposing-covid-tests-on-travellers-20230104-p5ca7d.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Beijing threatens “mutual” action against countries that impose COVID tests on travelers

Callan Tansill

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