China criticises other countries for ‘excessive’ Covid travel rules – The Guardian

China criticises other countries for ‘excessive’ Covid travel rules – The Guardian

Beijing has criticised recently imposed testing requirements on passengers from China and threatened countermeasures against countries involved.

“We believe that the entry restrictions adopted by some countries targeting China lack scientific basis, and some excessive practices are even more unacceptable,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a briefing.

“We are firmly opposed to attempts to manipulate the Covid measures for political purposes and will take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity.”

The comments were China’s sharpest to date on the issue as Australia and Canada this week joined a growing list of countries requiring travellers from China to take a Covid test before boarding their flight.

China is experiencing a nationwide outbreak of the coronavirus after abruptly easing restrictions that were in place for much of the pandemic.

Other countries including the US, UK, India, Japan and several European nations have announced tougher measures on travellers from China amid concerns over a lack of data on infections in China and fears of the possibility that new variants may emerge.

The French prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, defended the tests. Starting from Wednesday, anyone flying from China to France will have to present a negative virus test taken within the previous 48 hours and be subject to random testing on arrival.

“We are in our role, my government is in its role, protecting the French,” she told France-Info radio.

China, which for most of the pandemic adopted a “zero-Covid” strategy that imposed harsh restrictions aimed at stamping out the virus, abruptly eased those measures in December.

Chinese authorities previously said that from 8 January, travellers would no longer need to quarantine upon arriving in China, paving the way for Chinese residents to travel.