Qatar to require negative Covid-19 test for arrivals from China

All travellers from China required to show negative result regardless of vaccination status

A passenger from Beijing leaves the terminal after landing at Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas airport on New Year's Eve.  AFP
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Qatar will require travellers arriving from China to provide a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 48 hours of departure, state news agency QNA said on Monday.

The measures will come into effect on Tuesday.

The testing requirement is imposed on all travellers regardless of vaccination status, it added.

Qatar is the first Gulf country to introduce new restrictions on incoming travellers from China.

Several countries have introduced new measures for incoming Chinese tourists as Beijing eases restrictions on outbound travel while fighting a rise in infections.

The UK, US, Australia and Canada are among the countries now asking Chinese travellers to show evidence of a negative test.

Morocco has gone further and banned entry outright for all travellers from China.

While some European countries have introduced their own requirements for arrivals from China, EU leaders will meet later this week to discuss a joint response to the issue.

The flurry of global travel restrictions began as countries anticipated a surge in Chinese visitors after Beijing announced mandatory quarantine for inbound passengers would end on January 8.

The World Health Organisation has called the precautionary measures “understandable” in light of the lack of outbreak information provided by China.

Beijing announced an easing of Covid-19 restrictions at the beginning of December after rare protests erupted over its stringent zero-Covid policy, which meant millions were under some form of lockdown for close to three years.

Authorities said efforts to vaccinate the elderly would be sped up, before scrapping requirements for negative Covid-19 tests to enter many public places.

Cases have since surged across the country, hitting smaller cities and rural areas in particular.

Large gatherings were held to celebrate the New Year — the first since before the pandemic — including in Shanghai and Wuhan, where protests were held last month.

In a televised New Year address, Chinese President Xi Jinping said “epidemic prevention and control is entering a new phase.”

“Everyone is working resolutely, and the light of hope is right in front of us,” he said, in a speech broadcast on state media on Saturday.

Last Monday, he called for measures to “effectively protect people's lives”.

Updated: January 02, 2023, 11:01 AM