Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Latest News
'It's not fair': Wasim Akram agrees with Irfan Pathan, slams ECB and England players for leaving IPL early | Cricket News Second Henrietta Lacks family lawsuit can proceed against pharmaceutical company, judge rules California Assembly passes bill allowing cannabis cafes Dibrugarh: Dibrugarh cracks down on unauthorised e-rickshaws | Guwahati News BTS’ RM, NewJeans, Aespa and Treasure to go head to head in the K-pop charts with a clutch of new releases 'He had never asked me a single question': Gautam Gambhir hails Shah Rukh Khan as 'best owner' | Cricket News Microsoft unveils AI-capable Windows PCs said to be faster than Apple’s MacBook Air 2024 showdown: Trump tops Biden in April campaign cash dash Check-Dam: Opposition Leaders Condemn Check-Dam Construction in Kerala | Coimbatore News Big IPOs seen making a comeback in India as stock boom continues TOI Health News Morning Briefing | FLiRT variants identified in Kolkata, Harvard study finds when to take aspirin during heart attack, simple tests to check purity of milk, FAQs on heat stroke answere... OpenAI pauses ChatGPT voice ‘eerily similar’ to Scarlett Johansson Scarlett Johansson Said No, but OpenAI’s Virtual Assistant Sounds Just Like Her Sean Hannity: This is not justice IMD: IMD forecasts heavy rain in 8 districts from Friday | Bhubaneswar News China’s GPS rival BeiDou prepares to take off as Beijing moves to strengthen home-grown satellite navigation Australia and New Zealand sending planes to evacuate nationals from New Caledonia's unrest Trump's social media account shares a campaign video with a headline about a 'unified Reich' Illegal Construction: Illegal construction in public park: HC directs Moradabad DM & police to act | Allahabad News Government norms to monitor quality of spices exports IPL 2024, Qualifier 1: Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunrisers Hyderabad look to put on a show | Cricket News Scarlett Johansson says that OpenAI approached her to use her voice Moose kills man trying to take photos of her newborn calves in Alaska Class 12 General Marksheets: Class 12 general marksheets distribution date in Gujarat | Ahmedabad News Today in the past: Interesting things that happened on May 20 | 'The way MS Dhoni...': Gautam Gambhir opens up on KKR-CSK rivalry | Cricket News UK Firms Offer Wage Premium for AI Workers in Bid for Growth Eric Adams’s Aide Is Cooperating With FBI Investigation Into NYC Mayor Chirag Paswan: Chirag offers prayers at D’pur temple | Patna News Gold surges to new high
HomeChainaTravel curbs rack up as Covid-hit China readies reopening

Travel curbs rack up as Covid-hit China readies reopening

SHANGHAI/BEIJING: More countries around the world are demanding that visitors from China take Covid tests, days before it drops border controls and ushers in an eagerly awaited return to travel for a population that has been largely stuck at home for three years.
From Sunday, China will end the requirement for inbound travellers to quarantine, the latest dismantling of its “zero-Covid” regime that began last month following historic protests against a suffocating series of mass lockdowns.
But the abrupt changes have exposed many of China’s 1.4 billion population to the virus for the first time, triggering an infection wave that is overwhelming some hospitals, emptying pharmacy shelves of medication and causing international alarm.
Greece, Germany and Sweden on Thursday joined more than a dozen countries to demand Covid tests from Chinese travellers, as the World Health Organisation said China’s official virus data was under-reporting the true extent of its outbreak.
Chinese officials and state media have struck a defiant tone, defending the handling of the outbreak, playing down the severity of the surge and denouncing foreign travel requirements for its residents.
“No matter how China decides to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic, some Western media and some Western politicians will never be satisfied,” the Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, wrote in an editorial late on Thursday.
The global aviation industry, battered by years of pandemic curbs, has also been critical of the decisions to impose testing on travellers from China. China will still require pre-departure testing for inbound travellers after Jan. 8.
Some Chinese citizens think that the reopening has been too hasty.
“They should have taken a series of actions before opening up … and at the very least ensure that the pharmacies were well stocked,” a 70-year-old man who gave his surname as Zhao told Reuters in Shanghai.
China reported five new Covid deaths in the mainland for Thursday, bringing its official virus death toll to 5,264, one of the lowest in the world.
But that is at odds with the reality on the ground where funeral parlours are overwhelmed and hospitals are packed with elderly patients on respirators. In Shanghai, more than 200 taxi drivers are driving ambulances to meet demand for emergency services, the Shanghai Morning Post reported.
International health experts believe Beijing’s narrow definition of Covid deaths does not reflect a true toll that could rise to more than a million fatalities this year.
Investors are optimistic that China’s reopening can eventually reinvigorate a $17 trillion economy suffering its lowest growth in nearly half a century.
Those hopes, alongside policy measures to help revive its troubled property sector, lifted China’s yuan on Friday.
Meanwhile, both China’s blue-chip CSI300 Index and the Shanghai Composite Index have gained more than 2% in the first trading week of the year.
“While the re-opening is likely to be a bumpy affair amid surging Covid -19 cases and increasingly stretched health systems, our economists expect growth momentum across Asia to gather steam, led by China,” Herald van der Linde, HSBC’s head of equity strategy, Asia Pacific, said in a note.
With the big Lunar New Year holidays late this month, the mainland is also set to open the border with its special administrative region of Hong Kong on Sunday, for the first time in three years.
Ferry services between the city and the gambling hub of Macau will resume on the same day.
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways said on Thursday it would more than double flights to mainland China. Flights to and from China remain at a tiny fraction of pre-Covid levels.
The WHO has warned that the holiday, which starts on Jan. 21 and usually brings the biggest human migration on the planet as people head home from cities to visit families in small towns and villages, could spark another infection wave in the absence of higher vaccination rates and other precautions.
Authorities expect 2.1 billion passenger trips, by road, rail, water and air, over the holiday, double last year’s 1.05 billion journeys during the same period.
The transport ministry has urged people to be cautious to minimise the risk of infection for elderly relatives, pregnant women and infants.
One region poised to be a major beneficiary of China’s opening is Southeast Asia, where countries have not demanded that Chinese visitors take COVID tests.
Except for airline wastewater testing by Malaysia and Thailand for the virus, the region’s 11 nations will treat Chinese travellers like any others.
As many as 76% of Chinese travel agencies ranked Southeast Asia as the top destination when outbound travel resumed, according to a recent survey by trade show ITB China.
Many people in China have taken to social media to announce their travel plans but some remain wary.
“You want to see the world, but the world might not want to see you,” cautioned one WeChat user from Tianjin city.

Source link



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments

Latest News