South Korea joins places restricting Chinese travelers, citing COVID-19

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Places around the world are imposing or considering curbs on travelers from China amid a COVID-19 surge there after authorities relaxed “zero-COVID” rules.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

They cite a lack of information from China on variants and are concerned about a wave of infections. China has rejected criticism of its COVID-19 data and said it expects future mutations to be potentially more transmissible but less severe.

Below is a list of new regulations for travelers from China.

Place imposing curbs

United States

The United States will impose mandatory COVID-19 tests on travelers from China beginning on January 5. All air passengers 2 and older will require a negative result from a test no more than two days before departure from China, Hong Kong or Macau. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said Americans should also reconsider travel to China, Hong Kong and Macau.


The country has mandated a COVID-19 negative test report for travelers arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand, the health minister said. Passengers from those countries will be quarantined if they show symptoms or test positive.


Japan will require a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival for travelers from mainland China. Those who test positive will be required to quarantine for seven days. New border measures for China will go into effect at midnight on December 30. The government will also limit requests from airlines to increase flights to China.


Italy has ordered COVID-19 antigen swabs and virus sequencing for all travelers coming from China. Milan’s main airport, Malpensa, had already started testing passengers arriving from Beijing and Shanghai. “The measure is essential to ensure surveillance and detection of possible variants of the virus in order to protect the Italian population,” Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said.


Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre said all passengers on direct flights from China, as well as by boat at two offshore islands, will have to take PCR tests upon arrival, starting on January 1.

South Korea

South Korea will require travelers from China to provide negative COVID-19 test results before departure, South Korea’s News1 news agency reported on Friday, after Beijing’s decision to lift stringent zero-COVID-19 policies.

Places monitoring situation


Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia was continuing to monitor the situation in respect of China “as we continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 here in Australia as well as around the world.”


The Southeast Asian country is being “very cautious” and could impose measures such as testing requirements on visitors from China, but not an outright ban, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said.


Britain is reviewing whether to impose restrictions on people arriving from China after a surge in COVID-19 infections there, but has no plans to do so, officials said.

Defense minister Ben Wallace said an update was possible in the coming days, but another minister said that a review of evidence so far did not suggest any concerning new variant that would lead the government to impose restrictions.

Read more:

India brings back COVID-19 tests for flyers from some Asian nations: Health minister

EU seeks joint stance on measures toward China’s decision to lift COVID restrictions

No need for French border controls over China’s COVID-19 surge: Health official

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