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China slams 'unacceptable' Covid-19 rules on nationals abroad

BEIJING – China on Tuesday condemned fresh Covid-19 test requirements by around a dozen countries on passengers travelling abroad from its territory, warning it could take countermeasures in response.

The United States, Canada, France and Japan are among a number of countries that now require travellers from China to show a negative Covid-19 test before arrival, as the country faces a surge in cases.

Some countries have taken entry restrictions targeting only Chinese travellers. This lacks scientific basis and some practices are unacceptable, foreign ministry spokesman Mao Ning told a regular briefing, warning that China could take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity.

China is seeing a steep rise in infections after years of harsh zero-Covid restrictions were abruptly loosened last month with little warning or preparation, and hospitals and crematoriums have been quickly overwhelmed.

In late December, Beijing said inbound travellers would no longer be required to quarantine, sending many Chinese people rushing to plan long-awaited trips abroad.

Countries have cited Chinas lack of transparency around infection data and the risk of new variants emerging as reasons to restrict travellers.

China recorded only 22 Covid-19 deaths since December, after dramatically narrowing the criteria for classifying such deaths. AFP More On This Topic South Korea to require Covid-19 tests for HK, Macau travellers; new Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 detected Covid-19 tests for travellers from China arriving in UK next week optional: Report

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