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COVID-19 rules for travellers from China rolled out around the world

COVID-19 rules for travellers from China rolled out around the world

FILE PHOTO: Travellers walk with their luggage at Beijing Capital International Airport, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China December 27, 2022. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

BEIJING: Several places around the world have imposed curbs on travellers from China amid a COVID-19 surge after Beijing relaxed strict "zero-COVID" measures. They cite a lack of information from China on variants and are concerned about a wave of infections.

China has rejected criticism of its statistics and said it expects future mutations to be potentially more virulent but less severe.

Below is a list of rules for travellers from China:

United States

The US will impose mandatory COVID-19 tests on travellers from China beginning on Jan 5. All air passengers aged two and older will require a negative result from a test no more than two days before departure from China, Hong Kong or Macao. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said Americans should also reconsider travel to China, Hong Kong and Macao.


The country has mandated a COVID-19 negative test report for travellers arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand, the health minister said. Passengers from those countries will be put under quarantine if they showed symptoms of COVID-19 or tested positive.


Japan will toughen its border control measures for travellers from China from Jan 8, requiring negative pre-boarding COVID-19 test results for passengers on direct flights from China.

This is in addition to measures that started on Dec 30, requiring a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival for travellers from mainland China. Those who test positive will be required to quarantine for seven days.

The government will also limit requests from airlines to increase flights to China. Hong Kong's government has asked Japan to withdraw a restriction that requires passenger flights from the financial hub to land at four designated Japanese airports, saying the decision will affect about 60,000 passengers.


The country has ordered COVID-19 antigen swabs and virus sequencing for all travellers coming from China. Milan's main airport, Malpensa, had already started testing passengers arriving from Beijing and Shanghai.

"The measure is essential to ensure surveillance and detection of possible variants of the virus in order to protect the Italian population", minister Orazio Schillaci said, when announcing mandatory testing for passengers.


People travelling from China to Spain will be required to test negative for COVID-19 or prove they have been fully vaccinated against the disease, Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Dec 30. Travellers from China will have to show "proof that they are negative ... or a full vaccination list", she added.


Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Centre said all passengers arriving on direct flights from China, as well as by boat at two offshore islands, will have to take polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests upon arrival.

Taiwan will test arrivals from China for COVID-19 starting Jan 1.

South Korea

Effective Jan 5, travellers from China will be required to submit a mandatory negative PCR test result no more than 48 hours pre-flight or a negative result from a rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours before departure. They must also undergo another PCR test upon arrival. 

South Korea will also restrict the issuing of short-term visas for Chinese nationals until the end of next month and temporarily halt increasing flights from China, while using Incheon International Airport as the only gateway for any flights from the neighbouring country, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said.

The Chinese embassy in South Korea on Jan 10 suspended the issue of short-term visas for South Korean visitors, the first retaliatory move against nations and territories imposing COVID-19 curbs on travellers from China. 

This policy will be adjusted subject to the lifting of South Korea's "discriminatory entry restrictions" against China, said the embassy. 


From Jan 5, Canada will require travellers on Canadian-bound flights departing China to test negative for COVID-19

The requirements apply to all travellers two years of age and older arriving on flights in Canada originating from the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong or Macao.


Travellers from China to Australia will need to submit a negative COVID-19 test from Jan 5, Australian Health Minister Mark Butler said on Jan 1, joining other nations that have implemented similar restrictions as cases surge in China.

New Zealand

The New Zealand government on Jan 4 said it would not require travellers from China to produce a negative test. The country's COVID-19 minister said a public health risk assessment had concluded that visitors from China would not contribute significantly to the number of cases in the country.


The UK will require a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test from passengers from China as of Jan 5, the Department of Health said on Dec 30.


France will require travellers from China to provide a negative COVID-19 test result less than 48 hours before departure, the health and transport ministries said on Dec 30.

From Jan 1, France will also carry out random PCR COVID-19 tests upon arrival on some travellers coming from China, a government official told reporters.


Morocco will impose a ban on people arriving from China, whatever their nationality, from Jan 3 to avert any new wave of coronavirus infections, the foreign ministry said on Saturday.


Qatar will from Jan 3 require travelers arriving from China to provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours of departure, Qatar's state news agency QNA said on Jan 2.

The testing requirement is imposed on all travelers regardless of vaccination status, the agency added. 


Germany on Jan 5 said it would ask arrivals from China for a negative COVID-19 test and change its entry requirements at "short notice", following a recommendation by European Union experts to tighten travel rules.

Passengers arriving from China will be required to present "at least a rapid antigen test" to enter Germany, , Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said, without giving a specific date.

Germany will also carry out "spot checks to identify virus variants" and "wastewater tests" for journeys from China, he added.


Thailand on Jan 9 said it would no longer require visitors to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Thai authorities had earlier said it would require all foreign arrivals to prove that they were fully vaccinated for COVID-19, but the rule has been rescinded two days after it was announced by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).

The health minister told reporters proof of vaccination was not needed as there was sufficient immunisation globally, and those not vaccinated would be granted entry without restriction.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands will require travellers from China to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test before they are allowed into the country, the Dutch government said on Jan 6.

The requirement, which will be active as of Jan 10, follows recommendations made by the European Union earlier this week, which were already adopted by a range of countries including neighbouring Belgium and Germany.


Portugal will require air travellers from China to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test done no more than two days before departure, the health ministry said on Jan 6.

The requirements take effect at midnight on Jan 8 and airlines are responsible for complying with the measure when boarding, it said in a statement.

It said that passengers on flights from China could be subject to random testing "for genomic sequencing of the variants in circulation, in order to contribute to an adequate assessment of the epidemiological situation".



The Philippines sees a need to intensify the monitoring and implementation of border control for incoming individuals especially from China that is experiencing a record surge in COVID-19 cases, Manila’s health ministry said on Dec 31.


The Health Ministry said on Dec 30 that Singapore is ready to step up border health measures if needed and that it is closely watching the global COVID-19 situation.

"As air travel with China is progressively restored, we will take a cautious approach towards increasing seat capacity, taking into account the overall public health assessment," said the ministry.

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Source: Agencies/lk/cm/rc


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