US to weigh new COVID rules for travellers from China

Washington: The US government may impose new COVID-19 measures on travellers to the United States from China over concerns about the “lack of transparent data” coming from Beijing, US officials said on Tuesday.

The move comes after Japan, India and Malaysia announced stepped up rules on travellers from China in the last 24 hours, citing a rise in infections there.

A worker in protective gear points out a QR code to scan to make health declarations for inbound travellers arriving at Guangzhou Baiyun Airport in southern China’s Guangdong.Credit:AP

Japan has said it would require a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival for travellers from the China. Malaysia put in place additional tracking and surveillance measures.

“There are mounting concerns in the international community on the ongoing COVID-19 surges in China and the lack of transparent data, including viral genomic sequence data, being reported from the PRC,” the officials said, using the initials of the People’s Republic of China.

Some hospitals and funeral homes in China have been overwhelmed as the virus spreads largely unchecked across the country of 1.4 billion people.

Official statistics, however, showed only one COVID death in the seven days to Monday, fuelling doubts among health experts and residents about the government’s data. The numbers are inconsistent with the experience of much less populous countries after they re-opened.

China said on Monday it would stop requiring inbound travellers to go into quarantine starting from January 8 in a major step towards easing curbs on its borders, which have been largely shut since 2020.

There are no official restrictions on Chinese people going abroad but the new rule will make it much easier for them to return home.

China was the world’s largest outbound tourism market before COVID shut down global travel, with its overseas visitors spending $US127.5 billion on travel in 2019.

Airlines are drawing up plans to expand their services but ordinary Chinese and travel agencies suggest that a return to anything like normal will take some time.


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