LBeijing’s announcement on Monday that mandatory quarantines would end on January 8 was greeted with joy by the Chinese.
The decision marks the imminent demise of the last vestige of China’s “zero Covid” policy, which isolated the country for nearly three years and sparked unprecedented protests in late November for decades. This triggered a rush for international flights and ticket prices skyrocketed.
The news was received quite differently abroad, while China faces the world’s biggest wave of pollution, amplified by the emergence of new varieties.
In the US, entry restrictions on travelers from China are being considered after Japan and India imposed mandatory PCR tests on travelers from China, officials said on Tuesday.
“The international community is deeply concerned about the current outbreaks of Covid-19 in China and the lack of transparent data, including virus genome sequence data, reported by the PRC,” US officials said on condition of anonymity, referring to the People’s Republic. of China.
Citing concerns expressed by the World Health Organization (WHO), they added that the US was “considering taking similar measures” as Japan, India and Malaysia had decided.
Japan is reintroducing mandatory PCR tests for travelers from mainland China starting Friday.
The island of Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory, also announced it would conduct virus tests on travelers arriving from the mainland.
Beijing’s sudden reversal in health policy ends nearly three years of mass testing, lockdowns and prolonged quarantines that have severely disrupted the country’s supply chains and China’s economy, the world’s second largest.
Hospitals and crematoriums are overflowing as residents complain of shortages of flu medicine as the virus spreads largely unchecked among the 1.4 billion people.
Asked about the restrictions announced by Japan, China’s foreign ministry on Tuesday called on states to maintain “scientific and appropriate” measures against Covid and that would not “disrupt” human exchanges.
All travelers arriving in China will be subject to mandatory quarantine from March 2020. Initially lasting three weeks, it was reduced to one day in June and then five days last month.
Repealing the rule in January would mean reclassifying Covid-19 as a type B infectious disease, allowing authorities to relax restrictions.
On Tuesday, Chinese immigration authorities announced the gradual resumption of passports for “tourism” and “foreign friend visits” from January 8.
The resumption of this winter pandemic comes just weeks before the Lunar New Year at the end of January, during which millions of people will travel to find their loved ones.
Chinese officials have admitted that it is now “impossible” to measure the scale of the pandemic wave and have reduced the number of criteria attributed to Covid deaths.
The Chinese Center for Disease Prevention and Control on Wednesday listed 5,231 new infections and three deaths from the coronavirus nationwide, figures that may have been underestimated because sick people no longer have to self-report.
Officials will use data collected from online surveys, hospital visits, requests for flu medicine and emergency calls to “fill gaps in the reported (official) numbers,” it said on Tuesday. Disease control official, Yin Wenwu, told reporters. Conference.
Faced with shortages of basic drugs, Beijing officials plan to distribute the oral treatment Paxlovid to local hospitals and community clinics.
However, it is very difficult for the common man to get it.
The drug, developed in the United States, has been out of stock on JD.com e-commerce site and Meituan delivery platform in recent days.
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