Italy is the latest country to impose mandatory Covid tests on Chinese tourists after China announced it would reopen its borders next week. Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, and India have also introduced tougher measures, while the United States said it was considering further rules. After nearly three years of restrictions, China will make it easier for people to travel from January 8th. At the same time, the country is facing a surge in Covid cases. This has raised suspicions in some countries, but the Chinese government has said that coronavirus rules should be introduced on a ‘scientific’ basis, with some countries and the media ‘inflating’ the situation. accuses. On Monday and Tuesday, China announced it would ease restrictions on domestic and international travel.
From Jan. 8, quarantine for travelers entering China will end and passport applications for Chinese citizens will resume, officials said. Travel sites reported a spike in traffic after the announcement, and some countries revised their travel rules. After the virus spread from China in late 2019 and into 2020, Italy, once the epicenter of the virus globally, said it would introduce mandatory Covid testing for all passengers from China. Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said it was “essential to ensure surveillance and identification” of new variants of the virus and “protect the Italian people”. Before his announcement, flights arriving in Milan were already testing passengers from China. A flight landing at the city’s Malpensa airport on December 26 found that 52% of passengers tested positive for Covid.
“There is growing concern in the international community about the ongoing Covid-19 wave in China and the lack of transparent data, including the genome sequence data of the virus,” said a US official.
China’s Foreign Minister’s spokesman, Wang Wenbin, has since accused Western countries and the media of “hyping” and “distorting” China’s Covid policy adjustments. He said China believes that all countries’ Covid responses should be “science-based and balanced” and “should not interfere with normal human exchanges.” Wang called for “joint efforts to ensure safe cross-border movement, maintain the stability of global industrial supply chains, and promote economic recovery and growth.” Britain and Germany each said they were monitoring the situation closely but were not considering new restrictions on Chinese tourists. In Belgium, the mayor of the tourist hub of Bruges has urged Chinese tourists to face mandatory COVID-19 testing and vaccination requirements. The true number of daily cases and deaths in China is unknown as authorities have stopped releasing data. Reports say hospitals are overwhelmed and elderly people are dying. Last week, Beijing reported nearly 4,000 new Covid infections and several deaths a day.