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China lifts foreign travel ban amid surge in COVID-19 cases


After the announcement of the Chinese authorities that international flights for citizens of the country will resume on January 8, a flurry of activity was registered on the sites for the sale of tickets, and now many countries fear that they will be flooded with potential carriers of the coronavirus. Just half an hour after the restrictions were lifted, travel agency websites registered a tenfold increase in searches for destinations compared to December last year. The most popular destinations were Macau, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and South Korea.

As one of the American officials, whose statement was picked up by the media, fears are growing in the international community about the ongoing outbreaks of coronavirus infection in China and the lack of objective statistics on this issue.

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbing did not fail to accuse the West and its media of "inflating fear" and "distorting China's anti-COVID policy."

In connection with the "opening" of Chinese borders, the US authorities announced: "From January 5, all air passengers two years of age and older departing from China will be required to take a test no more than two days before departure from China, Hong Kong or Macau and present to the airlines a negative test result upon departure," AFP quoted a spokesperson for the US Department of Health as saying.

"The recent rapid rise in Covid-19 infections in China raises the possibility of new variants of the virus emerging," a ministry official told reporters.

US officials say China's covid situation is far from transparent and infections are on the rise there.

Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and India have already introduced measures to tighten entry controls for Chinese citizens, followed by Italy on Wednesday, which announced plans to introduce mandatory coronavirus screening for visitors.

Such checks are already underway at Milan airport, and as la Repubblica newspaper reported, on one of the flights from China that landed at Malpensa Airport the other day, 52% of passengers were found to have coronavirus.

Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak in 2020, with one of the world's top hotspots of infections imported from China right next to this airport.


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