February 5, 2023

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US considers entry restrictions on travelers from China to ‘protect the American people’

The decision by Chinese authorities to suddenly relax measures to combat Covid-19 has raised some concerns around the world about the risk of new variants of the virus emerging. The US is considering imposing entry restrictions on travelers from China, US officials said on Tuesday (December 27).

“The international community is deeply concerned about the ongoing outbreaks of Covid-19 in China and the lack of transparent data, including viral genome sequence data, reported by the PRC”The sources spoke on condition of anonymity on Tuesday, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

America “Follow scientific data and advice from public health experts, consult with partners and take similar actions (…) To protect the American people”, they added, citing concerns expressed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and measures adopted by Japan, India and Malaysia. Tokyo will reinstate mandatory PCR tests for travelers from mainland China starting Friday, December 30.

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Beijing acknowledged it “Can not” Following the evolution of the epidemic and from Sunday, even publishing daily data on the health situation has been stopped. Official statistics have been increasingly criticized as underestimating the number of infections and deaths.

Lack of genetic data

But the lack of genetic data raises more fears overseas “It is very difficult for public health authorities to identify potential new variants and ensure prompt action is taken to reduce the spread”US officials said.

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Chinese authorities have decided to end mandatory quarantine on arrival in the country from January 8, 2023, the last sign of a strict zero-covid health policy that isolated the country from the rest of the world for nearly three years.

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For weeks, officials have shown signs in this direction, but pollution has spiked since most health restrictions were lifted in early December, raising doubts about the sustainability of the reopening movement.

An “infectious” disease, but no longer “pneumonia”.

China’s National Health Commission, which acts as a ministry, said on Monday (December 26) it would no longer consider Covid-19. “pneumonia” But like a disease “contagious” Less dangerous, it no longer justifies quarantines. Starting next month, a negative test of less than 48 hours will be required to enter China.

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The news prompted a spike in online searches for outbound flights, state media reported. Within half an hour of the announcement, the number of searches for destinations outside mainland China increased tenfold compared to 2021, according to Trip.com, one of the fastest-growing travel booking sites. The most popular destinations are Macau, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and South Korea. Travel app Dongcheng reports an 850% increase in searches on its site.

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The country’s borders have been completely closed to foreigners since 2020. China has stopped issuing tourist visas for almost three years. An action that continues.

The world with AFP