‘Real intention is to sabotage’: China calls Covid curbs for Chinese travellers ‘discriminatory’

Passengers coming with an Air China flight from Guangzhou, China, leave a COVID-19 testing area set at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci international airport in Fiumicino on December 29, 2022. AP.

Beijing: Several countries have announced mandatory testing for travellers from China in response to a surging wave of Covid-19 infection in the Asian nation. However, the restrictions imposed by these countries did not go down well for Beijing which termed it as “unfounded and discriminatory”.

For the unversed, India, United States, South Korea, Italy, Japan and Taiwan have mandatory imposed COVID tests for travellers from China.

“The real intention is to sabotage China’s three years of COVID-19 control efforts and attack the country’s system,” Chinese state-run tabloid Global Times said in an article.

China has been witnessing a massive spike in new Covid cases. Hospitals in the country are overwhelmed, while videos going viral on social media show mortuary piled with bodies and crematorium lined with people waiting to perform last rites of their loved ones.

The situation is turning worse with every passing day and people in China are seen on intravenous drips by the roadside as hospitals and ICUs are packed with patients.

The spike in Covid-19 cases were reported after China abruptly lifted most restrictions under its stringent ‘zero-Covid’ policy and thereby, reversed course toward living with the virus on 7 December.

Notably, the country kept its borders shut for three years, imposed a strict regime of lockdowns and relentless tested patients to restrict the spread of the deadly virus. However, the relaxation of measures is now weighing on China with more and more people getting infected and dying.

Earlier this month, Xi Jinping government resumed international travel after three-year hiatus due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Come 8 January, China also said that it will stop requiring inbound travellers to go into quarantine, but will still demand a negative PCR test result within 48 hours before departure.

According to reports, before the Covid-19 pandemic, global spending by Chinese visitors was worth over $250 billion a year.

Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in China after widespread protests against them in November. Health experts say the country has been caught ill-prepared by the abrupt U-turn in policies long championed by President Xi Jinping.

According to a report by Reuters, tenders put out by hospitals for key medical equipment such as ventilators and patient monitors in December were two to three times higher than in previous months.