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Countries Impose Restrictions on Chinese Travelers as China Reopens This Week

by Aoife O’Riordan

Jan 4, 2023

© 06photo | Dreamstime.com

eFlyer Lead

Following China’s announcement to open its borders later this week to allow Chinese citizens to travel abroad, many countries responded with restrictions for incoming Chinese travelers. Chinese citizens are allowed to leave the country for the first time since 2020, but this announcement comes with hesitation from other countries.

Starting Jan. 5, the United States will impose mandatory COVID-19 tests on travelers ages 2 and up from China. In addition to these mandatory tests, the CDC also advises U.S. citizens reconsider travel to Hong Kong, China and Macau. The United States isn’t the only country to make such a decision following China’s announcement.

As of Jan. 1, France carries out random PCR COVID-19 tests on travelers coming from China. In the United Kingdom, travelers from China will be required to provide a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test starting Jan. 5. Australia will also enact a similar rule on Jan. 5.

Countries closer to China also announced travel restrictions. For instance, India now mandates a negative COVID-19 test for travelers from Hong Kong, China, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. As for Japan, new border measures for China were enacted Dec. 30, 2022, in which travelers from mainland China must provide a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival. The Japanese government also plans to limit requests from airlines to increase flights to China as the country continues to monitor the situation.

More extreme measures were imposed in countries like Morocco. As of Jan. 3, Morocco imposed a ban on people arriving from China, whatever their nationality, to avoid another wave of COVID-19.

The different restrictions and mandates across the world finally garnered a response from China, with the Chinese government denouncing countries for requiring COVID-19 testing. Calling such measures excessive and even discriminatory, some Chinese officials claim the countries enforcing such restrictions have ulterior motives, citing political reasons as one possibility for such restrictions.

China continues to combat a surge of COVID-19 cases after suddenly dropping its “zero COVID-19” policy. Despite this, China will soon end quarantine and loosen restrictions for incoming flights.

The European Union meets this Wednesday to discuss how to advise governments on travelers coming from China. While each E.U. country has the freedom to set its own rules, many countries already put rules in place. Italy now screens all travelers from China after a flight from Wenzhou, China, Dec. 26, saw nearly half of the travelers test positive for COVID-19.

Other concerns include the abrupt end of China regularly reporting daily cases. Lack of such information leads many scientists to fear an underreporting of severe cases or COVID-19 deaths, as well as fears of a potential new and more dangerous variant.

On Jan. 8, inbound travelers to China must show a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours before departure.

What are your thoughts on China easing its travel restrictions? Do you agree with countries imposing restrictions on travelers from China? Do you plan to travel to China in the next few years? Tell us your thoughts. Email us at [email protected]. Please include your full name and location.


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