Australia announces all travelers from China must now test negative for Covid before boarding as cases spiral out of control
- Travelers coming from China to Australia must test negative for the coronavirus
- The restrictions on negative testing will come into effect from January 5
- The change was announced Jan. 1 by Health Secretary Mark Butler
Any traveler looking to visit Australia from China will soon have to test negative for the coronavirus as the country grapples with a spate of cases.
Health Minister Mark Butler announced on Sunday that travelers must undergo a Covid test within 48 hours of travel and show evidence of a negative result before traveling to Australia from January 5.
Mr Butler said the change was made out of “abundance of caution” and because of the “lack of comprehensive information” coming out of China.
“The decision to implement these temporary measures has been taken out of an abundance of caution, taking into account the dynamic and evolving situation in China and the potential for new variants to emerge in a high transmission environment,” said Mr Butler.
Australia is well positioned in its pandemic response. We continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation in Australia and internationally, working with medical experts.
A passenger from Beijing lands at Madrid International Airport. Spain imposed Covid testing requirements on Friday for all visitors arriving from China
Health Minister Mark Butler said the priority was to protect Australians from potential variants
“Our absolute priority is to keep our community safe and continue to be a global leader in responding to the global Covid-19 pandemic.”
Butler said Australia is still “warmly” welcoming visitors from China.
The mandatory tests will apply to travelers from Hong Kong and Macau in addition to those from mainland China.
China is experiencing an explosion in Covid-19 infections and deaths after Beijing reversed its policy and allowed the virus free rein.
Tens of millions of Chinese are said to contract the disease every day now, but the exact number is unknown after Beijing stopped publishing daily figures last week saying it had become ‘impossible’ to detect cases.
According to authorities in Italy, 50 percent of passengers on Chinese flights to the country have Covid-19.
China is experiencing an explosion in Covid cases after abandoning its zero strategy
Australia is not the first country to impose testing requirements on travelers coming from China.
Spain, South Korea and Israel on Friday became the latest countries to impose mandatory coronavirus tests on visitors.
They joined Italy, Japan, India, Malaysia, Taiwan and the United States in demanding negative Covid tests for all travelers from mainland China in a bid to prevent new varieties of the Asian giant from being imported.
Chinese state media reacted angrily to the restrictions.
“The real intent is to sabotage China’s three-year Covid-19 control efforts and attack the country’s system,” the Global Times said in a report.
It also published a cartoon attacking Japan for its policies targeting Chinese citizens.
The newspaper described the restrictions as “unfounded” and “discriminatory.”