SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Australia on Sunday became the latest country to demand travellers from China provide a negative COVID-19 test before arrival, citing a “lack of comprehensive information” from Beijing about the country’s wave of cases
Health Minister Mark Butler said the move — which will take effect from 5 January — was being made “to safeguard Australia from the risk of potential new emerging variants” and “in recognition of the rapidly evolving situation in China”.
Three years after the coronavirus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Beijing this month began ditching its hardline containment policy known as “zero-COVID”.
Chinese hospitals have since been hit by a flood of mostly elderly patients, crematoriums have been overloaded and many pharmacies have run out of fever medications.
While more than 97 per cent of Australian adults have had at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, there is a concern in Canberra that Chinese authorities are not adequately sharing details about case numbers, or which variants are circulating.
“This measure is in response to the significant wave of COVID-19 infections in China and the potential for emerging viral variants in that country,” said Butler.
“Fortunately, in Australia, we have readily available access to vaccines and treatments, and high underlying population immunity.”