India scraps COVID test requirement for arrivals from China, five other countries

Travelers arriving from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand and Japan will no longer be required to undergo pre-departure COVID-19 testing before entering India from February 13, the health ministry said on Friday. .

Indian Ministry of Health Said The decision was made because of “sustained and significant declines in the trajectory of COVID-19 cases over the past four weeks” across the six Asian countries.

“According to the World Health Organization’s latest status update on COVID-19, the number of newly confirmed cases in the last 28 days has fallen by 89% compared to the previous 28 days, which has drawn global attention. I will,” it said. statement Posted in ANI.

“Meanwhile, India continues its downward trend, with fewer than 100 new cases. [per] days have been reported,” the ministry added.

However, the government will maintain random testing of 2% of all travelers entering India, regardless of their country of origin, to control the spread of the virus among international travelers.

After the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) abruptly lifted its strict zero-COVID policy, India began tightening restrictions on arrivals from six countries on January 1, resulting in an outbreak of the disease in China. .

Unlike India, the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Malaysia and Qatar have imposed pre-departure COVID-19 tests on arriving Chinese.

South Korea said Tuesday it was considering lifting short-term visa restrictions for Chinese visitors before the scheduled deadline, but will continue COVID-19 testing requirements through the end of February.

The Chinese Communist Party has previously threatened to “take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity” against countries trying to impose travel restrictions.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Mao Ning said on December 3, “We believe that the entry restrictions targeting China adopted by some countries have no scientific basis, and some excessive practices are even more unacceptable. ‘ said.

Canada extends immigration restrictions

Canada said it would extend COVID-19 restrictions for travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau, citing concerns about the need to protect its health system and lack of scientific data from Beijing.

last December, Canada announced Pre-boarding inspection requirements and arrival screening for travelers coming from these regions. This measure he was due to enter into force on January 5th and expire on February 5th.

“At 12:01 am EST on February 4, 2023, Canada will extend these current health measures to travelers arriving on flights from these regions, regardless of nationality or vaccination status. This requirement is expected to be in effect until April 5, 2023 at 12:01 AM EDT. statement February 2.

Ottawa said its decision to extend existing COVID-19 measures was a result of the ongoing “dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases in China” since the administration lifted restrictions on border travel from January 8. said it was based on a number of factors, including unpopular reports.

Another reason for the extension is concern over the limited epidemiological data made available by the Chinese authorities, including those related to genome sequencing and potential variants of concern.

Ottawa also recognizes the potential impact of China’s reopening on Canada’s healthcare system, and allies and international organizations against Beijing’s rapid and large-scale reopening after three years of strict lockdown under the COVID-19 Zero Policy. He said that he also took into consideration the response of

“Despite the data provided by China so far, the continued gap in data availability remains a serious concern,” the statement said.

“Extending these temporary health measures will provide time for new reliable sources of data to become available and allow time for the expected domestic wave in China to subside,” it added. rice field.

Ottawa said border measures will continue to be reassessed as more data and evidence become available.

Andrew Chen and Catabella Roberts contributed to this report.