Beijing Threatens ‘Countermeasures’ Against Countries Requiring COVID Test For Travelers From China
Health workers guide travellers arriving from China at a Covid-19 testing centre at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul on January 3, 2023.
Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images

The Chinese government, whose draconian “zero COVID” policy forced people to stay in their homes for as long as 100 days at a time, lashed out at countries around the world that will require COVID testing for travelers from the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

As a surge of COVID infects the Chinese people, the communist government has refused to share information about its outbreak with the rest of the world and was offended by the “unacceptable” travel restrictions imposed on travelers from China. Beijing harshly criticized the safety measures taken by Japan, India, Canada, the U.S., the U.K., France, and several other European countries, and threatened to respond with “countermeasures.”

“We believe that the entry restrictions adopted by some countries targeting China lack scientific basis, and some excessive practices are even more unacceptable,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

“We are firmly opposed to attempts to manipulate the COVID measures for political purposes and will take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity,” Mao added.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said all travelers entering the country from China would have to undergo COVID testing as the communist nation faces a wave of infections after it began to roll back its “zero COVID” policies last month. The U.S. travel requirements begin Thursday and affect every traveler regardless of age or nationality coming to the U.S. from China.

The CDC cited a “lack of adequate and transparent epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data being reported from the PRC” as a main factor in its decision to implement the travel requirement.

“Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world. However, reduced testing and case reporting in the PRC and minimal sharing of viral genomic sequence data could delay the identification of new variants of concern if they arise,” the CDC said.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said her country is implementing the COVID testing measures to protect the French people. For the U.K., Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the COVID test requirement is for “collecting information” since China has not shared enough data with the world on its COVID infections, the AP reported.

Meanwhile, Sweden, which currently controls the EU presidency, “is preparing to be able to introduce travel restrictions. At the same time, we are conducting a dialogue with our European colleagues to get the same rules as possible in the EU,” according to Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer.

China’s threat to react to the COVID measures taken by the rest of the world on its travelers comes days after former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo advised countries to completely shut off travel to the communist nation.

“There is no reason we should allow the Chinese to do this again, to send Chinese-infected persons around the world knowingly infecting people all across the globe. [Chinese President Xi Jinping] got away with this once. I regret that he wasn’t held accountable, he hasn’t been held accountable,” Pompeo told New York radio show host John Catsimatidis on Sunday. “But he’s doing it again, so, John, just as in the spring of 2020 when he sent people around the world he knew were infected, he’s doing the same darn thing again. He’s going to infect millions more. We shouldn’t let that happen.”

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