Restrictions On Travellers Abroad Discriminatory, Will Take Countermeasures: China

Beijing: Piqued by several countries, including India, clamping curbs on Chinese travellers amid the massive surge of Covid-19 in the country, China on Tuesday said the restrictions are discriminatory and warned of reciprocal countermeasures.

The US, Australia, Canada, India, Israel, Malaysia, Morocco, Qatar, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and several EU countries have asked travellers from China to take a Covid-19 test prior to boarding their flights, while Morocco, which attracts a large number of Chinese tourists, even banned Chinese travellers from entering the country.

Asked at a media briefing here about the restrictions on Chinese travellers, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning went on the offensive saying, “We do not believe the entry restriction measures some countries have taken against China are science-based”.

“Some of these measures are disproportionate and simply unacceptable. We firmly reject using Covid measures for political purposes and will take corresponding measures in response to varying situations via the principle of reciprocity,” she said, without elaborating.

“Health experts from many countries have said that the main variant now spreading in China has previously been found elsewhere already and that a new variant can emerge anywhere on the planet, which means entry restrictions targeting China are unnecessary,” she said.

“China always believes that for all countries, Covid response measures need to be science-based and proportionate. They should not be used for political manipulation, there should not be discriminatory measures against certain countries, and measures should not affect normal travel and people-to-people exchange and cooperation,” she said.

Starting from January 8, China will practically abandon its three-year-old stringent zero-Covid policy and its international isolation by fully opening its airports and ports for travel and trade, amidst the current massive coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The development comes at a time when China is grappling with a sudden spurt in infections fuelled by the Omicron variants after the Xi Jinping regime relaxed its stringent zero-Covid policy following a wave of anti-government protests.

While the announcement of scrapping all quarantine rules was widely welcomed at home, the timing of the opening also fuelled concerns abroad as it comes ahead of the country’s annual Spring Festival on January 22 during which millions of Chinese will travel to destinations all over the world.

It was the spring festival travels by the Chinese in 2020, especially from Wuhan where the coronavirus broke out that was largely blamed for its massive spread in the world, causing death and devastation unseen in the century.

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