The fear that China could again export the coronavirus to the entire world for a second time has grown significantly after the government recently overturned its strict zero-Covid policy. Italy was the first country to have a glimpse of what could be the situation in China regarding the spread of Covid-19 following attempts by the government to open it up. Almost 50 percent of Chinese passengers on two flights tested positive for the virus.
“On the first flight, out of 92 passengers, 35 (38%) are positive. On the second, out of 120 passengers, 62 (52%) are positive,” Guido Bertolaso, Lombardy regional councillor for welfare, said in Milan on Wednesday.
Italian health minister Orazio Schillaci had earlier announced a mandatory Covid-19 test for passengers entering the country from China.
“I have ordered mandatory COVID-19 antigenic swabs and related virus sequencing for all passengers coming from China and transiting through Italy,” Italian Health Minister Orazio Schillaci stated. “The measure is indispensable to guarantee surveillance and identification of any new variants of the virus in order to protect the Italian population.”
Amid the growing rate of infection, the Chinese government said it will grant visas to more people beginning on January 8. It is the first time that most of them will be travelling abroad since the start of the pandemic.
Many Chinese are excited about the development and are longing to travel outside the country. However, most countries are scared of another wave of the Coronavirus and are taking preventive measures as they are scared that a new variant could result from the sharp increase in the number of cases in the Asian country.
Countries that have imposed new Covid regulations
The United States
Beginning from January 5, air passengers entering the United States from China must provide a negative result from a test conducted not more than two days before departure from China, Macao, and Hong Kong. Every passenger above two years must submit a negative result.
“The recent rapid increase in Covid-19 transmission in China increases the potential for new variants emerging,” a US health official said. “Based on this lack of available data, it’s harder for US public health officials to identify new variants spreading to the United States.”
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kashida, said travellers from China and those who visited within seven days must take a Covid test upon arrival.
“There are growing worries in Japan about rising cases in China. We have decided to take a temporary special measure to respond to the situation,” Kashida said.
Symptomatic patients will require a seven days quarantine, while asymptomatic patients will isolate for five days. Under the new regulation, the number of flights from China will also be limited.
Any traveller entering India from China must provide a negative Covid result before entering the country. Positive cases will be quarantined, including asymptomatic and symptomatic patients. The instructions also apply to citizens coming from four other Asian countries.
Other countries that have issued travel regulations on China are Taiwan and Malaysia. Beginning from January 1 to January 31, every Chinese entering Taiwan must submit a negative Covid result. Positive cases will have to isolate at home.