Covid measures for Chinese passengers discriminatory and unfounded, says state media

Countries imposing restrictions as widespread international travel from China set to resume, despite coronavirus surge

A worker at Caselle airport in Turin, Italy, sets up a sign informing travellers from China of mandatory Covid tests. EPA
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Covid-19 restrictions and requirements being placed by some countries on travellers from China are “discriminatory” and “unfounded”, Chinese state media has said.

The claims, quoting unnamed experts, in a report in the Global Times newspaper came after the US Japan, Taiwan, India and Malaysia imposed restrictions on travellers from China.

This follows a huge surge in Covid-19 cases in China, after Beijing rolled back stringent zero-covid restrictions that had in place for almost three years.

Flight restrictions will be eased in January.

The US and Japan view this reopening as “another chance to defame Beijing”, said Global Times.

“The real intention [behind the measures] is to sabotage China's three years of Covid-19 control efforts and attack the country's system.”

As part of easing restrictions, quarantine requirements for all international arrivals and rules limiting numbers of incoming flights and passengers will be lifted on January 8.

Many Chinese, most of whom have not left the country for several years, are anticipating the opportunity to travel abroad again.

“Most countries around the world have welcomed China's move to open up to travellers from all over the globe and encouraged Chinese to travel abroad after the country's Covid-19 battle entered a new stage,” Global Times said.

However, the UK is the latest country to consider imposing restrictions.

The US has also said that Chinese statistics on Covid infections are not transparent. China rejects this claim.

“Since the outbreak of the epidemic, China has been sharing relevant information and data with the international community, including the World Health Organisation, in an open and transparent manner,” Chinese Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Friday.

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has urged Chinese authorities to make their Covid data more accessible, adding that the additional measures by other countries were “understandable”

Last week, local media reported that Chinese hospitals were overflowing with Covid-19 patients and crematoriums were unable to keep up with the number of bodies.

Updated: December 30, 2022, 2:19 PM