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COVID-19: Arrivals from China to be tested in Italy, Japan and the USA. Australia to follow?

COVID-19: Arrivals from China to be tested in Italy, Japan and the USA. Australia to follow?

With two flights from China arriving in Italy with more than 50% of passengers testing positive to the COVID-19 virus, Italy and the USA have decided to place some restrictions on all air passengers arriving from China.

a group of people around a statue
Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy

Italy

Passengers arriving in Italy have been tested this week. The first flight had 52% of passengers testing positive for coronavirus with two subsequent flights, having an average of 46% of passengers testing positive. Positive cases are quarantined.

a tree with pink flowers
Cherry Blossom time, Kyoto, Japan

Japan

Japan istightening its border controls for travelers from China. Japan has allowed foreign tourists to enter without restrictions since October 2022.

All travelers from China, including those visiting China within the previous seven days will be tested for COVID-19 on arrival in Japan. A positive test will require 7 days of quarantine at designated facilities.

The quarantine period for those who test positive is expected to be seven days if they have developed symptoms. For those who are asymptomatic quarantine will be five days if they test negative on the fifth day.

USA

From 5 January, the United States will require all travellers two years and older arriving from China, Hong Kong, or Macao to present a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than two days before their departure.

Passengers who have tested positive for COVID-19 more than 10 days before their flight can provide documentation of recovery in lieu of a negative test result.

a building with a dome shaped roof
Beijing Opera House. China

Why?

The new measure comes after Italy announced that it will test all arrivals from China for COVID-19 and follows concerns about the spread of COVID-19 variants and the lack of transparent data from China regarding the current COVID-19 situation.

Concerns about COVID-19 variants

The United States is taking the new measure due to concerns about the lack of information on virus variants and the possibility that the increased number of COVID-19 cases in China could develop new variants that spread overseas.

Lack of transparent data from China

Officials cited “the lack of transparent data” from China, a longstanding complaint from the US about China’s handling of the pandemic, as a reason for considering travel restrictions. Some global health experts have predicted that the virus could infect as many as 1 million people per day in China. International modelling groups have predicted that the country could experience 2 million deaths or greater.

Australia next?

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was questioned today and has said there is no change in Australia’s border policies, which currently allow all arrivals into the country, and do not require testing. He said any change would be subject to the health advice available to the government.

a pond with a building and trees in the background
Snow, outside Beijing, China

2PAXfly Takeout

I love digital, except when my phone dies, which happened to me on the last night of my recent visit to New Zealand

Who thinks, travel restrictions, like testing on arrival from China will be announced before the end of this week ?

I think these restrictions are inevitable, and will be imposed once they can put together an airport testing package, and restore hotel quarantine.

Call me cynical, but I bet they have consultants out there testing the water on how the Australian Chinese community will react to such a restriction. And if they don’t, they should. They need to bring the Chinese community along with any decision that affects their Chinese-based friends and family.

It will be sensitive, and they will need to emphasise that it affects all travellers from China, and is not based on Chinese ethnicity. We don’t want to see a repeat of the ethnic hatred that Trump promulgated through his ‘China Virus’ rants!

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