- The US is considering imposing new Covid restrictions on Chinese arrivals.
- It was after Beijing announced it would reopen its borders next month.
- American officials say this is due to a lack of transparency surrounding the virus in China.
On Wednesday, Italy announced plans to enforce mandatory testing, after tighter measures were outlined by Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and India. Beijing said coronavirus rules should be brought in on a “scientific” basis. Officials in the Italian city of Milan are already testing passengers on flights from China.
Following Similar Lines
Officials are yet to comment on these figures but, in a statement, Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said he had ordered mandatory Covid-19 testing for all passengers coming from China and transiting through Italy. He said this was “essential to ensure the surveillance and identification” of any new variants of the virus, and to “protect the Italian population”. Italy was ravaged by Covid during the first outbreak in 2020, with the northern region of Lombardy – near Malpensa Airport – at one point becoming the global epicenter of the virus after it spread from China.
An EU Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said while member states had agreed to remove Covid travel restrictions earlier this year, there was an understanding that, if necessary, they could be reintroduced in a coordinated manner. Wang Wenbin, China’s foreign minister spokesperson, subsequently accused Western countries and media of “hyping up” and “distorting China’s Covid policy adjustments”.
Mr Wang called for “joint efforts to ensure safe cross-border travel, maintain stability of global industrial supply chains and promote economic recovery and growth”. The UK and Germany each said they are monitoring the situation closely, but are not currently considering new restrictions for Chinese travelers. Meanwhile, a German health ministry official said there was “no indication that a more dangerous mutation [of Covid] had developed”.
Before the relaxation of travel rules, people were strongly discouraged from traveling abroad. The sale of outbound group and package travel was banned, according to marketing solutions company Dragon Trail International. The US still requires international travelers to show proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid on entering the country.
The website for the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends that anyone traveling to the US gets a Covid test beforehand and has their result to hand – but this is not a legal obligation.
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