Australia announces all travellers from China must now test negative for Covid before they board their flight as cases spiral out of control
- Travellers coming from China to Australia need to test negative to coronavirus
- The negative testing restrictions will come into force from January 5
- The change was announced by Health Minister Mark Butler on January 1
Health Minister Mark Butler announced on Sunday that travellers would need to take a Covid test within the 48 hours before travel and show evidence of a negative result before travelling to Australia starting from January 5.
Mr Butler said the change was made out of an ‘abundance of caution’ and because of the ‘lack of comprehensive information’ coming out of China.
‘The decision to implement these temporary measures has been made out of an abundance of caution, taking into account the dynamic and evolving situation in China and the potential for new variants to emerge in an environment of high transmission,’ Mr Butler said.
‘Australia is well positioned in its pandemic response. We continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation in Australia and internationally, in collaboration with medical experts.
A passenger from Beijing landing at Madrid International Airport. Spain imposed Covid testing requirements on all visitors coming from China on Friday
Health Minister Mark Butler said the priority was on keeping Australians safe of potential variants
‘Our absolute priority is keeping our community safe and continuing to be a world leader when it comes to responding to the global Covid-19 pandemic.’
Mr Butler said Australia was still ‘warmly’ welcoming any visitors from China.
The mandatory testing will apply to travellers from Hong Kong and Macau in addition to those from mainland China.
China is experiencing an explosion in Covid-19 infections and deaths after Beijing reversed its policies and let the virus run rampant.
Tens of millions of Chinese are now said to be contracting the disease every day but the exact number is unknown after Beijing stopped publishing daily figures on last week, saying it had become ‘impossible’ to track cases.
According to authorities in Italy, 50 per cent of passengers on China flights to the country have Covid-19.
China is experiencing an explosion of Covid cases after it dropped its zero strategy
Australia is not the first country to enforce testing requirements on travellers coming from China.
Spain, South Korea and Israel on Friday became the latest countries to impose mandatory coronavirus tests on visitors.
They joined Italy, Japan, India, Malaysia, Taiwan and the United States in requiring negative Covid tests for all travellers from mainland China, in a bid to avoid importing new variants from the Asian giant.
Chinese state media reacted furiously to the restrictions.
‘The real intention is to sabotage China’s three years of Covid-19 control efforts and attack the country’s system,’ the Global Times stated in a report.
It also published a cartoon attacking Japan for its policies targeting Chinese citizens.
The paper described the restrictions as ‘unfounded’ and ‘discriminatory.’