Australia, Canada Join Nations with PRC COVID Curbs

By imposing testing requirements, Australia and Canada are the latest among over a dozen countries to impose restrictions on travelers arriving from China. This comes as COVID cases continue to surge in the PRC after the easing of the "zero-COVID" policy.

Australia, Canada Join Nations with PRC COVID Curbs
Image credit: LaPresse [via CTV]

Facts

  • By imposing testing requirements, Australia and Canada are the latest among over a dozen countries to impose restrictions on travelers arriving from China. This comes as COVID cases continue to surge in the PRC after the easing of the "zero-COVID" policy.
  • The restrictions have largely been spurred by what is believed to be a vast undercounting of cases in China since the easing of COVID restrictions and the subsequent increase in infections, a charge that China denies. The World Health Organization is urging China to provide more "specific and real-time data" on COVID infections.
  • Australia and Canada are joining countries such as the UK, US, India, and South Korea in requiring a negative COVID test from incoming travelers from China, while Morocco has imposed a complete ban on arrivals for the time being.
  • US officials cited the PRC infection rates and "lack of transparent data" as their rationale for testing requirements, echoing sentiments from other nations imposing similar restrictions, while China has scrapped quarantine requirements for incoming travelers and is set to resume issuing visas for foreign travel.
  • China is reporting roughly 5K new COVID infections each day, a number that analysts say may be closer to 1M.
  • Chinese state media has decried the restrictions as "discriminatory" and politically motivated, as some public health experts express skepticism on the effectiveness of travel restrictions.

Sources: Al Jazeera, BBC News, Sky News, Euro News, and Time.

Narratives

  • Pro-China narrative, as provided by The Telegraph. The evidence from the pandemic is clear: without other policies in place, travel restrictions are an utterly useless measure. Countries failed to stop the spread of variants from India and Africa with travel restrictions, and this time will be no different — a variant will already have a foothold before it is ever detected by a government. There is little evidence that a new variant is spreading in China, and their COVID situation is fueled mostly by domestic vaccine hesitancy. This is a politically motivated piece of "hygiene theater."
  • Anti-China narrative, as provided by New York Times. China has become a "black box" in the fight against COVID, with no reliable information being provided by the Chinese government. The evidence from China's sudden abandonment of zero-COVID points to a never-before-seen explosion of cases in the nation of 1.4 billion, with the government leaving citizens to fend for themselves. China has often been the bellwether for COVID conditions and trends, and the world must be prepared for new variants and infection surges.