BEIJING — The Chinese language authorities sharply criticized COVID-19 testing necessities imposed on passengers from China and threatened countermeasures in opposition to nations concerned, which embrace the U.S. and a number of other European nations.
“We imagine that the entry restrictions adopted by some nations concentrating on China lack scientific foundation, and a few extreme practices are much more unacceptable,” Overseas Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning mentioned at a each day briefing Tuesday.
“We’re firmly against makes an attempt to control the COVID measures for political functions and can take countermeasures based mostly on the precept of reciprocity,” she mentioned. Mao didn’t specify what steps China would possibly take.
The feedback have been China’s sharpest up to now on the difficulty. Australia and Canada this week joined a growing list of countries requiring vacationers from China to take a COVID-19 check previous to boarding their flight, as China battles a nationwide outbreak of the coronavirus after abruptly easing restrictions that have been in place for a lot of the pandemic.
Different nations together with the U.S., U.Okay., India, Japan and a number of other European nations have introduced more durable COVID-19 measures on vacationers from China amid concerns over a lack of data on infections in China and fears of the possibility that new variants might emerge.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne defended the checks. Beginning Wednesday, anybody flying from China to France should current a adverse virus check taken inside the earlier 48 hours and be topic to random testing on arrival.
“We’re in our function, my authorities is in its function, defending the French,” Borne mentioned Tuesday on France-Information radio.
The U.Okay. would require that passengers from China take a COVID check earlier than boarding the aircraft from Thursday. Transport Secretary Mark Harper mentioned the requirement is for “amassing data” as a result of Beijing isn’t sharing coronavirus knowledge.
Well being officers will check a pattern of passengers after they arrive within the U.Okay., however no quarantine is required for individuals who check constructive, he mentioned.
“The coverage for arrivals from China is primarily about amassing data that the Chinese language authorities will not be sharing with the worldwide group,” Harper advised the LBC radio station on Tuesday.
Sweden’s Public Well being Company mentioned Tuesday that it had urged the federal government to require vacationers from China to current a current adverse COVID-19 check.
The assertion from the company comes as Sweden, which has taken over EU’s rotating presidency, has called a meeting of the EU’s crisis management mechanism for Wednesday to attempt to agree on a standard European line.
The Swedish authorities “is making ready to have the ability to introduce journey restrictions. On the identical time, we’re conducting a dialogue with our European colleagues to get the identical guidelines as potential within the EU,” Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer mentioned in a press release.
Austria, too, plans to check the wastewater of all planes arriving from China for brand spanking new variants of the coronavirus, the Austria Press Company reported Tuesday, following an analogous announcement by Belgium a day earlier.
Chinese language well being officers mentioned final week that they’d submitted knowledge to GISAID, a worldwide platform for sharing coronavirus knowledge.
The variations of the virus fueling infections in China “intently resemble” these which have been seen in several components of the world between July and December, GISAID mentioned Monday.
Dr. Gagandeep Kang, who research viruses within the Christian Medical Faculty of Vellore in India, mentioned that the knowledge from China, albeit restricted, appeared to recommend that “the sample was holding” and that there wasn’t any signal of a worrisome variant rising.
Mao, the Chinese language Overseas Ministry spokesperson, mentioned that well being authorities had just lately held a video convention with the WHO to trade views on the present COVID state of affairs, medical therapy, vaccination and different technical points, and agreed to proceed technical exchanges to assist finish the pandemic as quickly as potential.
A senior Hong Kong official additionally criticized the steps taken by another nations. Some nations have utilized the necessities to passengers from Hong Kong and Macao, each semiautonomous Chinese language territories, in addition to mainland China.
Hong Kong Chief Secretary Eric Chan mentioned in a Fb publish that the federal government had written to varied consulates on Monday to specific its issues over the “pointless and inappropriate” guidelines.
Some Canadian specialists have questioned the effectiveness of the testing. Kerry Bowman, assistant professor on the College of Toronto’s Temerty School of Medication, mentioned that individuals can check constructive lengthy after coming into the nation.
The requirement is “not based mostly on science at this level,” he mentioned after Canada introduced measures final weekend.
China, which for many of the pandemic adopted a “zero-COVID” technique that imposed harsh restrictions aimed toward stamping out the virus, abruptly eased those measures in December.
Chinese language authorities beforehand mentioned that from Jan. 8, abroad vacationers would not must quarantine upon arriving in China, paving the way in which for Chinese language residents to journey.
Related Press writers John Leicester in Paris, Sylvia Hui in London, Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Kanis Leung in Hong Kong and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.