Mainland China has denied entry to non-Chinese visitors from the UK, Belgium and the Philippines, and urged travelers from the US, France and Germany to provide results of additional health tests as coronavirus cases continue to rise around the world.
China has temporarily suspended the entry of non-Chinese nationals arriving from the UK, even if they have a valid visa and residence permit, the Chinese embassy in the UK said in some of the toughest border restrictions a country could place in response to the Pandemic has imposed.
Chinese embassies in Belgium and the Philippines issued similar statements announcing restrictions on travelers from both countries
“We are concerned about the sudden announcement and blanket entry ban and await further clarification as to when it will be lifted,” said the UK Chamber of Commerce in China
The rejection of non-Chinese travelers from the UK came when England imposed a month-long lockdown starting Thursday
The UK death toll is the highest in Europe and there are more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases every day.
Belgium has the highest number of new confirmed cases per capita in Europe, while the Philippines has the second highest number of infections and deaths in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.
The suspension was a partial reverse of an easing on September 28, when China allowed entry to all foreign nationals with valid residence permits.
In March, China banned foreigners from entering the country in response to the epidemic.
As of November 6, all US, France, Germany and Thailand passengers traveling to mainland China will be required to have both a nucleic acid test and a blood test for antibodies to the coronavirus.
The tests must not be carried out more than 48 hours before boarding.
If the passenger has to make a transit stop on the way to China, the same tests must be carried out in the transit country or region.
Linyi Li, a Chinese national, had planned to fly from Seattle to China in mid-November but switched her flight to November 6 to bypass the rule, even though fares tripled.
“Tickets sold out in seconds as everyone tried to miss the deadline,” said Li, 30.
“I’ve been rushing to sell many of my family items in the past few days if I can’t go back to the US.”
Similar requirements were imposed on travelers from countries such as Australia, Singapore and Japan from November 8th.
The double exam requirement was not unprecedented.
Passengers arriving on specially arranged flights from countries such as India can complete several rounds of testing.
“Although these changes remain technically open, these changes de facto imply a ban on anyone who tries to get back to their life, work and families in China,” said the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.
The board also said the antibody test was not widely used in many countries
On Tuesday, China Southern Airlines, the country’s largest passenger airline, announced that it would cease transit services for passengers from 21 countries, mainly African and Asian countries such as India and the Philippines.
The number of weekly international passenger flights serving mainland China from late October to March is expected to drop 96.8% year over year to 592, according to the latest flight schedules.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)