As COVID-hit China opens up to travel, others secure their doors | Coronavirus pandemic News

Japan joined India on Tuesday in imposing restrictions on Chinese visitors as Beijing relaxes standards for tourists.

Japan will tighten border controls on COVID-19 by requiring testing for all visitors from China starting Friday, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced, even as Beijing said will do so. scrap Mandatory quarantine for incoming foreigners.

The development comes days after the World Health Organization (WHO) said it was very concerned about rise reports of severe cases across China after the country largely abandoned its “no COVID” policy.

Beijing, while acknowledging an increase in infections, has downplayed the spread of the virus after spending the best of three years shutting down entire neighborhoods and cities because of some infections. .

On Tuesday, it said it would lower the threat level of the coronavirus on January 8 and would begin allowing mainland residents to go abroad more easily. Outbound travel by Chinese tourists, a mainstay of the global tourism industry for many years, has fallen to almost zero since 2020. Additionally, passengers arriving from abroad will no longer need to be quarantined. , despite having a negative test result within 48 hours of departure and entry. plane masks are still required.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said China has “refined our COVID response to the evolving situation” while working with the global community.

However, even as Beijing has allowed the country to open up, other governments – worried about a spike in cases in China – are raising barriers to entry for visitors. China.

In Japan, quantitative antigen testing already conducted on arrivals suspected of having COVID-19 will be mandatory for all arrivals from mainland China. Those who test positive will be quarantined for seven days at designated facilities and their samples will be used for genome analysis.

The measure begins on Friday, just as Japan enters the New Year holiday marked by parties and tourism, when infections are expected to increase.

Last week India also Mandatory testing for COVID-19 for travelers from China, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Thailand, and ordered isolation for those who have symptoms or test positive. India has also started randomizing 2% of international passengers arriving at airports.

Kishida said China’s lack of information sharing and transparency about infections makes it difficult to assess and find safety measures. He said there are big differences between information from central and local governments, and between government and private organizations.

“There is more and more anxiety in Japan,” said Kishida. “We have decided to take a temporary special measure in response to the situation.”

But Wang appeared to offer subtle criticisms of border measures adopted by Japan and India. “China believes that anti-pandemic measures should be scientifically-based, appropriate, and should not affect normal personnel exchanges,” he said.

Kishida said Japan’s new measure is aimed at “preventing the rapid rise of infections in this country” and is not intended to halt the movement of people around the globe. He added that Japan would act flexibly and monitor developments in China, including suspending plans to increase flights between Japan and China “to ensure safety”.

Direct flights between the two countries will be limited to Japan’s four major airports for the time being, government officials said.

“This measure will not affect Japan’s policy to continue our ongoing transition to a ‘with COVID’ lifestyle carefully and steadily while tracking infections. at home,” Kishida said.

Japan stop asking for COVID-19 testing earlier this year for participants who had received at least three injections – part of an effort to carefully relax the country’s measures after virtually closing its borders to foreign tourists for about two years.


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