As COVID-hit China reopens to the world, countries put up travel barriers

With China days far from dropping border controls which have correctly shut it off from the rest of the arena for 3 years, nations are lining up to impose curbs on travellers from China to contain its raging COVID-19 outbreak.

From Sunday, Jan. 8, China will drop a demand for inbound travellers to quarantine, the latest dismantling of its “zero-COVID” regime that began final month following ancient protests in opposition to a suffocating collection of mass lockdowns.

But the abrupt changes have exposed lots of China’s 1.4 billion population to the virus for the first time, triggering an infection wave that is overwhelming some hospitals, emptying pharmacy shelves of medicine and inflicting worldwide alarm.

Greece, Germany and Sweden on Thursday joined greater than a dozen countries to demand COVID assessments from Chinese guests, as the World Health Organisation said China’s legitimate virus statistics changed into under-reporting the true volume of its outbreak.

Chinese officials and state media have struck a defiant tone, defending the handling of the outbreak, gambling down the severity of the surge and denouncing foreign tour requirements on its residents.

“No rely how China decides to address the COVID-19 epidemic, a few Western media and a few Western politicians will in no way be happy,” the kingdom-run Global Times wrote in a piece of writing late on Thursday.

The aviation enterprise, battered via years of pandemic curbs, has additionally been essential of the selections to impose checking out on visitors from China. China will still require pre-departure testing for inbound travelers after Jan. 8.

Some Chinese residents think that the reopening has been too hasty.

“They ought to have taken a series of movements earlier than commencing up, like advising what precautions people of a positive age have to take … And a minimum of make sure that the pharmacies were nicely stocked,” a 70-year-vintage guy who gave his surname as Zhao told Reuters in Shanghai.

“By now not doing this it got very messy.”China pronounced 5 new COVID deaths within the mainland for Thursday, bringing its legitimate virus loss of life toll to five,264, one of the lowest within the global.

But that is at odds with the situation at the ground wherein funeral parlours and crematoriums are overwhelmed, and some hospitals are full of elderly patients on respirators.

International fitness experts consider Beijing’s restricted definition for COVID deaths does now not reflect the proper toll that would upward push to extra than a million fatalities this year.


With the huge Lunar New Year holidays overdue this month, the mainland is likewise set to open the border with its special administrative region of Hong Kong on Sunday, for the first time in three years.

Ferry offerings among the city and the gambling hub of Macau will resume at the identical day.

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways (0293.HK) said on Thursday it would extra than double flights to mainland China. Flights to and from China remain at a tiny fraction of pre-COVID ranges.

The WHO has warned that the holiday, which starts on Jan. 21 and usually brings the biggest human migration on this planet as human beings head domestic from towns to look households within the nation-state, ought to generate every other wave of infections without higher vaccination charges and different precautions.

Authorities anticipate 2.1 billion passenger journeys, via avenue, rail, water and air, over the holiday, double final 12 months’s 1.05 billion at some stage in the same period.

The delivery ministry has urged humans to be careful to minimise the risk of contamination to aged loved ones, pregnant girls and infants.

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