Australia and Canada have joined the growing list of countries requiring travelers from China to pass a COVID-19 test before boarding their flight, as the nation battles a coronavirus outbreak after sharply easing restrictions on They had been in force for almost the entire pandemic.
Australian health authorities said on Sunday that from January 5 all passengers arriving from mainland China, Hong Kong or Macao must present a negative COVID-19 test taken within two days of departure.
Canada announced similar measures, which will also take effect on January 5, in a statement dated Saturday.
The United States, Great Britain, India, Japan and several European Union countries also imposed tougher measures against COVID-19 on Chinese travelers amid concerns about the lack of data on infections in the country and fears of its spread. of new variants of the virus.
China, which for most of the pandemic adopted a “zero COVID” strategy with harsh restrictions to eradicate the virus, abruptly eased the protocol in December. The Chinese authorities had earlier announced that, as of January 8, travelers from abroad would no longer have to quarantine upon arrival in the country, paving the way for people to leave the country again.
Hong Kong is also preparing for the end of the rule and plans to resume border controls on January 8, according to a post by the territory’s security chief, Eric Chan, on Facebook. In addition, the quota that limits the number of travelers between the two places will be maintained.
In China, the relaxation of restrictions allowed residents to celebrate the New Year in large gatherings that were prohibited during much of the pandemic, despite the increase in infections in much of the country.
“There is still concern, more or less,” said Wu Yanxia, a 51-year-old Beijing resident who works at a logistics company. “I hope next year everything will be normal, like domestic travel.”
Others hope that 2023 will bring better things after a difficult year.
“We have experienced a very uneven year, especially an unforgettable one, with many things that we could not imagine,” said Li Feng, a professor in Beijing, adding that 2022 was a difficult year for both the population and the government.
“But I think we’ve moved on and everything will be fine,” he said. “We’ll all get better and better at work and in life.”
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.