Beijing threatens to answer ‘unacceptable’ virus measures

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BEIJING (AP) — China’s authorities has sharply criticized the COVID-19 testing necessities positioned on guests from China and threatened countermeasures towards the nations concerned, which embody america and a number of other European nations.

“We consider that the entry restrictions adopted by some nations concentrating on China haven’t any scientific foundation, and a few extreme practices are much more unacceptable,” International Ministry spokesman Mao Ning stated at a briefing on Tuesday.

“We strongly oppose makes an attempt to take advantage of COVID funds for political functions and can take countermeasures based mostly on the precept of reciprocity,” he stated. Mao didn’t specify what steps China may take.

The feedback from China had been the sharpest but on the problem. Australia and Canada this week has joined a rising checklist of nations Requiring vacationers from China to endure a COVID-19 take a look at earlier than boarding their flight as China battles a nationwide outbreak of the coronavirus after dramatically easing restrictions that had been in place for a lot of the pandemic.

Different nations, together with the US, India, Japan, South Korea and a number of other European nations, have introduced more durable COVID-19 measures for vacationers from China considerations about lacking knowledge on infections in China and fears that new choices can happen.

China has had a few of the strictest entry necessities for individuals arriving from overseas. It’s set to finish the necessary five-day quarantine for all arrivals, however will nonetheless require a unfavourable COVID-19 take a look at inside 48 hours of flight.

White Home press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre stated there was “no motive to retaliate” by Beijing towards nations that “take prudent well being measures to guard their residents” with COVID-related restrictions on vacationers from China. He added that the restrictions had been “based mostly on public well being and science.”

“That is one thing that each one of us, (and) different nations are doing to guarantee that we shield our residents right here,” Jean-Pierre stated.

The checks had been supported by the Prime Minister of France, Elizabeth Bourne. From Wednesday, anybody flying from China to France should current a unfavourable virus take a look at taken inside the earlier 48 hours and endure random testing on arrival.

“We’re in our position, my authorities is in its position, defending the French,” Bourne informed France-Data radio on Tuesday.

From Thursday, the UK would require passengers from China to be examined for COVID-19 earlier than boarding a aircraft. Transport Minister Mark Harper stated the request was for “info gathering” as a result of Beijing doesn’t share coronavirus knowledge.

Well being officers will take a look at a pattern of passengers after they arrive within the UK, however quarantine will not be required for many who take a look at constructive, he stated.

“The coverage on arrivals from China is mainly about gathering info that the Chinese language authorities doesn’t share with the worldwide neighborhood,” Harper informed LBC radio on Tuesday.

Sweden’s Public Well being Company stated on Tuesday it had referred to as on the federal government to require vacationers from China to current a latest unfavourable COVID-19 take a look at.

The company’s announcement got here as Sweden, which has taken over the EU’s rotating presidency convened a gathering of the EU disaster administration mechanism For Wednesday, to attempt to attain an settlement on a typical European line.

The Swedish authorities is “getting ready to have the ability to introduce journey restrictions. On the identical time, we’re in dialogue with our European companions to get the identical guidelines as doable within the EU,” Justice Minister Gunnar Strömer stated in an announcement.

Austria additionally plans to check the sewage from all planes arriving from China for brand new variants of the coronavirus, the Austrian press company stated on Tuesday, following an identical announcement by Belgium a day earlier.

Chinese language well being officers stated final week that that they had submitted knowledge to GISAID, a worldwide platform for sharing coronavirus knowledge.

The variants of the virus inflicting the infections in China are “very related” to these seen in numerous components of the world between July and December, GISAID stated on Monday.

Dr. Gagandeep Kang, who research viruses on the Vellore Christian Medical Faculty in India, stated that the data from China, though restricted, gave the impression to be “holding a sample” and that there was no signal of a worrisome variant. rising

Mi Feng, a spokesman for China’s Nationwide Well being Fee, stated authorities had been open and clear because the outbreak started three years in the past. He stated on Tuesday that China held technical alternate conferences with the WHO twice final month on the final state of affairs, medical remedy, vaccinations and different points.

A high-ranking Hong Kong official additionally criticized the steps taken by another nations. Some have utilized the necessities to passengers arriving from Hong Kong and Macau, two semi-autonomous Chinese language territories, in addition to from mainland China.

Hong Kong Chief Secretary Eric Chan stated in a Fb put up that the federal government had written to numerous consulates on Monday to precise its considerations in regards to the “redundant and inappropriate” guidelines.

Some specialists query the effectiveness of testing. Kerry Bowman, an assistant professor on the College of Toronto Temerty School of Drugs, stated individuals can take a look at constructive lengthy after getting into the nation.

The demand “will not be based mostly on science at this level,” he stated after Canada introduced the measures final weekend.

China, which for a lot of the epidemic adopted a “zero-COVID” technique that imposed strict restrictions aimed toward eradicating the virus, dramatically eased these measures in December.

Chinese language authorities beforehand stated that from January 8, overseas vacationers will not must endure quarantine upon arrival in China, paving the best way for Chinese language residents to journey.

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Related Press writers John Lester in Paris, Sylvia Hui in London, Ian M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Kanis Leung in Hong Kong and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.

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