Authorities around the world are still imposing or considering curbs on travellers from China after COVID-19 cases surged there following its relaxation of “zero-COVID” rules.
China has rejected criticism of its COVID data and said severe cases have fallen and its current surge of infections is nearing an end.
PLACES IMPOSING CURBS
France extended mandatory COVID tests for travellers from China until Feb. 15, according to a government decree published on Saturday.
France had required travellers from China to provide a negative COVID test result less than 48 hours before departure.
The country is carrying out random PCR COVID tests upon arrival on travellers coming from China. France has urged all 26 other European Union member states to test Chinese travellers for COVID.
South Korea said it will continue to restrict the entry of short-term travellers from China through the end of February over concerns that the spread of COVID-19 in China may worsen following the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays, media reported according to the Global Times .
South Korea had required travellers from China, Macau and Hong Kong to provide negative COVID test results before departure.
The Swedish government decided to extend coronavirus entry restrictions on travellers from China for another 20 days, until Feb. 18, after an evaluation that the rate of infections in the country remains concerning, according to local media.
Sweden had required travellers from China to show a negative COVID test before they entered the country, the government said.
The United States imposed mandatory COVID-19 tests on travellers from China beginning Jan. 5. All air passengers aged two and older will require a negative result from a test no more than two days before departure from China, Hong Kong or Macau.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said UScitizens should reconsider travel to China, Hong Kong and Macau.
European Union government officials recommended on Wednesday that passengers flying from China to the EU should have a negative COVID-19 test before they board. They also suggested all passengers on flights to and from China should wear face masks, that EU governments introduce random testing of passengers arriving from China and that they test wastewater in airports with international flights and planes arriving from China.
From Jan. 16, the Czech Republic will require travellers from China to show a negative coronavirus test taken up to 48 hours prior to boarding flights. There are no direct flights but this applies to travellers changing in various hubs. The obligation does not apply to Czech citizens and their families.
Negative COVID-19 tests will be required for people travelling by air from China to Cyprus from Jan. 15, the island’s health ministry said.
All travellers that use international flights to and from China are recommended to wear medical masks during flights; for international travellers arriving from China or travelling to this country are advised to follow strict hygiene and health measures, according to Baltic News Network.
Germany is working to implement new entry rules for travellers from China as soon as possible, but it is not possible to say when the first flight will be affected, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Thursday.
Air travellers to Greece from China must show they have tested negative for COVID-19 48 hours before arrival, a new requirement that will be announced shortly, two government officials said on Thursday.
The UK will require a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test for passengers from China as of Jan. 5, the Department of Health said on Friday.
Travellers from China to Australia will need to submit a negative COVID-19 test from Jan. 5, Australian Health Minister Mark Butler said.
The country has mandated a COVID-19 negative test report for travellers arriving from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand. Passengers from those countries will be quarantined if they show symptoms or test positive.
Air travellers to Canada from China must test negative for COVID-19 no more than two days before departure, Ottawa said.
The country will require negative coronavirus test results within 72 hours of passengers boarding direct flights from China, the prime minister said on Jan. 4. That is in addition to an existing regulation that passengers who had been in China in the seven days prior to their flight will be subject to a COVID-19 test on arrival in Japan. Those who test positive will be required to quarantine for seven days.
Italy has ordered COVID-19 antigen swabs and virus sequencing for all travellers from China. Milan’s main airport, Malpensa, has already started testing passengers arriving from Beijing and Shanghai.
Spain will require a negative COVID-19 test or a full course of vaccination against the disease upon arrival for travellers from China.
Malaysia will screen all inbound travellers for fever and test wastewater from aircraft arriving from China for COVID-19.
Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre this month began requiring all passengers coming from China to take PCR tests upon arrival.
Morocco will impose a ban on people arriving from China, whatever their nationality, from Jan. 3.
Qatar will require travellers arriving from China from Jan. 3 to provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours of departure, state news agency QNA said.
Belgium will test wastewater from planes arriving from China for new COVID variants as part of new steps against the spread of the coronavirus, the government announced last Monday.
Newly appointed Health Minister Aryeh Deri announced new COVID-19 testing requirements for travellers from China, joining other nations imposing restrictions because of a surge of infections, according to the Times of Israel.
The Netherlands will require travellers from China to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test before they can enter the country, the Dutch government said on Friday. The requirement will be enforced from Tuesday.
Portugal will require air travellers from China to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test done no more than two days before departure, its health ministry said on Friday.
The requirement took effect on Sunday and Portugal said passengers from China on Saturday could be subject to random testing “for genomic sequencing of the variants in circulation, in order to contribute to an adequate assessment of the epidemiological situation”.
Thailand rescinded on Monday measures announced by its aviation regulator a day prior requiring international travellers to show proof of full COVID vaccination or letter certifying recovery from the virus before flying into the country.
The health minister said on Monday that proof of vaccination was not needed as there was sufficient immunisation globally, while those not vaccinated would be granted entry without restriction.
PLACES MONITORING SITUATION
The Philippines sees a need to intensify monitoring and implementation of border controls for incoming individuals especially from China, Manila’s health ministry said.