Amid reports from China that case numbers are still relatively high, many countries have reinstated entry requirements for travellers from China as the borders reopen on 9th January 2023. Inbound travellers will be relived to no longer undergo a period of quarantine as this requirement has been removed. Similarly within China, quarantine is no longer required for those travelling in what is one of the busiest periods of the year – Chinese New Year.
Travellers from China: Curbs in place
A number of countries were very quick to impose curbs on travellers from China. These include:
The US will impose mandatory Covid-19 tests on travellers from China from 5th January for all air passengers aged two and above. The test must show a negative result taken no more than two days before departure from China, Hong Kong or Macau. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said US citizens should reconsider travel to all three locations.
Passengers arriving from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Thailand will be quarantined if they show symptoms or test positive. India has mandated a Covid-19 negative test report for all arriving travellers , their health minister has said.
Japan requires a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival for all travellers from mainland China. Travellers returning a positive test will be required to quarantine for seven days. These new border measures went into effect at midnight on 30th December. The government is also restricting approval from airlines requesting an increase flights to China.
Italy is enforcing Covid-19 antigen swabs and virus sequencing for all travellers from China and Milan’s main airport, Malpensa, had already started testing passengers arriving from Beijing and Shanghai.
Spain requires a negative Covid-19 test for travellers from China upon arrival, or a full course of vaccination against the disease, according to the country’s health minister.
Malaysia will screen all inbound travellers for fever and test wastewater from aircraft arriving from China for Covid-19. All arriving passengers who visited China within 14 days, suffering from an influenza-like illness (ILI) or severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) will be required to do a RTK-Ag Covid-19 test. This also applies to those who have been in close contact with someone who visited China in the past 14 days. Genome sequencing will be conducted for results of any arriving passenger who tests Covid-19 positive.
In addition, travellers entering Malaysia’s Sabah from China must provide a negative Covid-19 pre-departure test result before entering the state. The pre-departure test must be carried out within 48 hours before departure.
Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre requires all passengers on direct flights from China and by boat at two offshore islands, to take PCR tests upon arrival. This policy was put into effect from 1st January.
Travellers from China to South Korea must provide negative Covid test results before departure as reported by South Korea’s News1 news agency.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia was monitoring the situation in respect of China “as we continue to monitor the impact of Covid here in Australia as well as around the world.” Australia has requested that from January 5, all travellers from China to take a pre-departure COVID test prior to boarding.
Countries monitoring situation:
The Philippines, a popular Southeast Asian destination for Chinese visitors, is being “very cautious” and are considering whether to impose measures including testing requirements on visitors from China. At this point in time, an outright ban is not being considered.
At the time of writing, Britain is reviewing the need to impose restrictions on travellers arriving from China, but officials say they have no plans to do so. This will be updated as the border reopens, although a review of current evidence so far did not suggest any concerning new variant that would lead the government to impose restrictions.
Singapore Ministry of Health authorities are watching the situation closely and will reinstate border health measures for selected countries if warranted by the public health situation. These measures do not apply only to arrivals from China, but travellers from other countries with worrying case numbers.