While international travellers are finding it easier to travel again
with Covid-19 restrictions lifted across most countries in the world,
including Hong Kong’s most recent dispensation of all arrival control
measures, Chinese travellers will be the exception as a growing number
of nations implement fresh regulations specifically for them.
Countries with restrictions on Chinese travellers
Italy’s minister of health Orazio Schillaci announced on 28 December
2022 that all passengers coming from China and transiting through Italy
has to undergo a Covid-19 test upon arrival. Those who test positive
will have to quarantined. The Malpensa airport in Milan had earlier on
26 December already started testing passengers from China, and found
almost one in two passengers infected with the virus.
Following Italy’s announcement, Spain became the second EU country to
impose a Covid-19 curb on Chinese travellers. Travellers reaching Spain
from China need to present either a negative Covid-19 test result or
proof of complete vaccination against the virus, with any of the
vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
From 5 January, travellers from China arriving in France have to
provide results of a negative PCR or a rapid antigen test less than 48
hours before their flight. Travellers on planes from China will also be
required to wear masks onboard their flights.
4. United States
Starting 5 January, travellers from China, Hong Kong and Macau
entering the US will be required to present negative Covid-19 test
results taken within 48 hours of departure or proof of recovery within
the last 90 days. According to the US Centers for Disease Control,
acceptable tests include “a PCR test or an antigen self-test
administered and monitored by a telehealth service or a licensed
Travellers from China entering Australia will be required to provide
negative Covid-19 test results from 5 January, taken within 48 hours of
their departure. This requirement extends to visitors from Hong Kong and
Macau too. Australian health minister Mark Butler shared that the
government is additionally considering additional measures such as the
testing of wastewater from airplanes and voluntary sampling at airports,
but emphasised that “this is a temporary measure”.
From 5 January, travellers from China, Hong Kong and Macau aged two
and above are required to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test
result to the airline prior to boarding, taken no more than two days
before their departure. The test could be either a PCR test or a
negative antigen test monitored by a telehealth service or an accredited
laboratory or testing provider. Passengers can also submit proof of
recovery within the last 90 days.
7. United Kingdom
Effective from 5 January, travellers coming into the UK from China
are required to submit a negative test prior to boarding. The UK
government will also conduct random tests to monitor for new variants.
On 30 December 2022, Israel’s newly appointed Health Minister Aryeh
Deri issued an order to airlines operating flights from China to Israel
to only allow travellers to board the flights if they present a negative
PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. These measures will not
apply to Israeli citizens, though they have been advised to avoid all
non-essential travel to China.
Japan commenced mandatory Covid-19 test regulations for travellers
from China beginning 30 December 2022. Travellers who test positive will
have to undergo a seven-day at designated quarantine facilities.
Additionally, Tokyo will cap flights coming from China.
10. South Korea
From 2 January, travellers from China will have to undergo a PCR test
upon arrival in South Korea. In addition to that, starting 5 January,
everyone departing from China will be required to submit a negative
result from a PCR test no more than 48 hours or a rapid antigen test
taken within 24 hours before departure. Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said
South Korea will use Incheon airport as the airport for any flights
from China. The country will also restrict issuing short-term visas for
Chinese nationals until the end of next month.
India has mandated all travellers from China along with other Asian
countries to provide a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 72
hours of departure.
In perhaps the most stringent of all the countries thus far, Morocco
has completely prohibited entry for all travellers from China. The ban
will take effect from 3 January with no definitive end date.
Hong Kong is now free of Covid-19 restrictions
From 29 December, Hong Kong has announced the full lifting of its
mandatory PCR test requirements for international travellers, along with
removing the Vaccine Pass which previously was required for people to
gain entry to specific places.
“The new measures mark a key milestone for tourism revival and the
full reopening of the tourism doors of Hong Kong,” said Pang Yiu-kai,
chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB). “Taking into account the
pace of outbound travel resumption in different visitor source markets,
HKTB will gradually step up its promotions worldwide to uphold Hong
Kong’s status as a world-class travel destination.”