DestinationsMore countries are imposing Covid restrictions on visitors from China. Meanwhile, Hong Kong lifts all restrictions for international travellers.

As China’s door reopens, others roll out restrictions

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A growing number of countries are imposing restrictions on travellers from China amid its Covid surge.
A growing number of countries are imposing restrictions on travellers from China amid its Covid surge. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/tampatra

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

1. Italy

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.

2. Spain

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).

3. France

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 provider”.

5. Australia

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”.

6. Canada

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.

8. Israel

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.

9. Japan

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.

11. India

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.

12. Morocco

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.”

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