China has blasted countries that have made pre-departure Covid RT-PCR tests mandatory for Chinese passengers. It has warned of similar countermeasures based on 'reciprocity', Reuters reported on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, China's foreign ministry said travel entry restrictions imposed by some countries were "simply unreasonable" and "lacked scientific basis". Speaking to reporters in Beijing, foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said China was willing to improve communication with the world.
But, she said, China is firmly opposed to attempts to manipulate Covid prevention and control measures for political purposes, and it will take "corresponding measures in different situations according to the principle of reciprocity".
A host of countries, including India, has revised their travel guidelines, making Covid test mandatory for passengers from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan. The move came in the wake of a massive surge in Covid cases in China.
The US, UK, Japan, and India were among the few nations that imposed tougher measures on Chinese travellers as the virus swept China. Australia and Canada also joined the league and made Covid test mandatory for Chinese passengers amid fears that they might trigger another wave of the pandemic in their respective countries.
But now Beijing has warned of a similar move for international passengers seeking to visit China. Just last month, China announced that it will relax its quarantine rule for foreign travellers and open its economy from January 8.
China has in the last few weeks witnessed a record number of new infections. Initially, Beijing underplayed its daily cases and death counts. However, as reports flooded social media with images of overwhelmed hospitals, mortuaries, and ICUs, China's National Health Commission stopped publishing daily numbers.
The Chinese people questioned the official numbers as they were too low compared to the situation in hospitals and funeral stations. The WHO, too, asked China to update it with real-time data to detect any possible more infectious variant.
India on Monday said its pre-departure Covid RT-PCR test rule will also apply to passengers transiting from China.
"This (pre-departure Covid test conducted within 72 hours prior to journey) will also apply to transiting passengers through the countries irrespective of their originating countries before coming to any Indian airports," the Health Ministry said.
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today