BEIJING – Australia and Canada have joined a growing list of countries requiring travelers from China to take a COVID-19 test before boarding their flight as China battles a nationwide outbreak of the coronavirus after it caught fire during a has abruptly relaxed most of the restrictions imposed during the pandemic.
Australian health officials said Sunday that from January 5, all air travelers from mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within two days of departure.
Canadian authorities announced similar measures in a statement on Saturday, which will also come into effect on January 5.
Australia and Canada join other countries, including the US, UK, India, Japan and several European nations, in imposing tougher COVID-19 measures on Chinese travelers amid concerns about a lack of data on infections in China and fears that new ones are emerging Variants could spread.
China, which has been following a “zero-COVID” strategy for most of the pandemic, imposing strict restrictions to eradicate the virus, abruptly eased those measures in December. Chinese authorities earlier said that from Jan. 8, overseas travelers would no longer need to quarantine upon arrival in China, paving the way for Chinese residents to travel.
Hong Kong is also preparing for quarantine-free travel to China and plans to resume operations at more border checkpoints as early as Jan. 8, according to a Facebook post by Hong Kong Secretary-General Eric Chan.
However, a contingent remains in place that limits the number of travelers between the two locations.
“Depending on the first phase of the situation, we will gradually expand the scope for a full reopening of the border,” Chan said.
In China, eased restrictions meant residents could celebrate the New Year in large gatherings, which have been banned for much of the pandemic, even as the country is experiencing a massive outbreak of cases.
“There are still some concerns, more or less,” said Wu Yanxia, a 51-year-old Beijing resident who works at a logistics company. “I hope that next year everything will be normal, such as domestic travel.”
Others hope that 2023 will bring improvement after a difficult past year.
“We have experienced a very uneven year, particularly memorable, with many things beyond our imagination,” said Li Feng, a teacher in Beijing, adding that 2022 has been a difficult year for both the people and the government.
“But I think we’ve done it and everything will be fine,” Li said. “We’re all getting better at both work and life.”
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https://www.local10.com/news/world/2023/01/01/canada-australia-impose-covid-rules-on-travelers-from-china/ Canada and Australia impose COVID rules on travelers from China