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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
11 Feb 2023

NextImg:India Scraps COVID Test Requirement for Arrivals From China, 5 Other Nations

Travelers arriving from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, and Japan will no longer need to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test before entering India starting Feb. 13, the Health Ministry said on Friday.

The Indian Health Ministry said the decision was made due to a “sustained and significant decline in the trajectory of COVID-19 cases in the last four weeks” across the six Asian nations.

“As per World Health Organization’s latest situational update on COVID-19, a decline of 89% in the number of newly confirmed cases in the past 28 days has been noted globally as compared to 28 days prior to that,” it said in a statement posted by ANI.

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“Meanwhile, India has continued to witness a declining trajectory, with less than 100 new cases [per] day being reported,” the ministry added.

However, the government will retain its random testing of 2 percent of all travelers entering India, regardless of their country of origin, in order to control the spread of the virus among international travelers.

India began to tighten curbs on arrivals from the six nations on Jan. 1 after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) abruptly lifted its draconian zero-COVID policy, which resulted in an explosive outbreak of the disease in China.

Unlike India, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Malaysia, and Qatar imposed pre-departure COVID-19 tests for Chinese arrivals.

South Korea said Tuesday that it was considering lifting its short-term visa restrictions for Chinese visitors ahead of the scheduled deadline but will continue its COVID-19 test requirement through the end of February.

The CCP earlier threatened to “take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity” against nations that move to implement entry restrictions on its travelers.

“We believe that the entry restrictions adopted by some countries targeting China lack scientific basis, and some excessive practices are even more unacceptable,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said on Dec. 3.

Canada said that it will extend the COVID-19 curbs for travelers from China, Hong Kong, and Macau, citing the need to protect the health-care system and concerns about the lack of scientific data from Beijing.

Last December, Canada announced pre-boarding test requirements and arrival screening for travelers coming from these regions. The measures took effect on Jan. 5 and were set to expire on Feb. 5.

“On February 4, 2023, at 12:01 a.m. EST, Canada intends on extending these current health measures for travellers arriving on flights from these regions, regardless of nationality or vaccination status. The requirements are expected to remain in effect until April 5, 2023, 12:01 a.m. EDT,” the government said in a statement on Feb. 2.

Ottawa said the decision to extend the existing COVID-19 measures was based on several factors, including the continued reports of a “dramatic increase of COVID-19 cases in China” since the regime lifted its restrictions on border travel starting Jan. 8.

Another reason for the extension is concerns about the limited epidemiological data made available by Chinese authorities, including those related to genomic sequencing and potential variants of concern.

Ottawa said it also took into account the potential impacts of China’s reopening on Canada’s health care system, as well as responses of allied countries and international organizations toward Beijing’s swift and mass reopening after three years of strict lockdowns under its zero-COVID policy.

“Despite the data provided by China thus far, on-going gaps in data availability remain a significant concern,” the statement said.

“Extending these temporary health measures will provide time for new, reliable data sources to be made available and allow time for expected domestic waves in China to subside,” it added.

Ottawa said the border measures will continue to be reassessed as more data and evidence become available.

Andrew Chen and Katabella Roberts contributed to this report.

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