China Tracking New Covid Variants in Travelers
A new control strategy will also enable local government to limit gatherings and mandate that employers and educational institutions go online.
The nation is already dealing with an increase in cases, and foreign visitors arriving before the Lunar New Year vacation run the risk of bringing in new variations.
According to a new control strategy unveiled on Saturday, China would monitor new Covid-19 variations from incoming travelers by obtaining hospital sample data and utilizing genomic sequencing.
Additionally, it will give local governments the power to reintroduce gathering restrictions, require businesses and educational institutions to go online, and halt “non-essential activities,” including conferences, events, and performances.
The nation has already experienced an increase in instances after limits were lifted last month. After opening its borders again on Sunday, there are concerns that there may be an even more significant increase due to foreign visitors.
The announcement comes as the world’s largest human migration, the Lunar New Year travel rush, gets underway.
The statement said, “Temporary steps may be taken based on the community infection rate and the burden on medical resources. Prevention and control measures are normally not required under normal circumstances.”
According to the new regulations, arriving travelers are no more extended subject to quarantine and can enter with a negative Covid test result obtained within 48 hours of leaving.
The Chinese Transport Ministry announced on Saturday that international ships would no longer need to obtain advance approval to change crew members while docked in China. Quarantine and testing requirements will also be lifted.
However, the outbreak in China is currently being driven by the BF.7 and BA.5.2 variants of Omicron. Additionally, two new strains, BQ.1 and XBB, which are prevalent in the United States, have been detect in Shanghai among travelers from abroad.
The Chinese authorities have stopped tracking the daily number of cases and have change their definition of what is consider a Covid death, causing concerns about a lack of transparency among foreign governments and the World Health Organization.
As a result, a number of countries, including the US, Japan, South Korea, and many in Europe, now require Chinese travelers to present a negative test before entry.
The head of the National Health Commission’s response team stated during a briefing on Friday that China has not yet determined a timeline for ending its pre-travel testing requirement for those entering the country. He also mention that customs officials would be encourage to test exported goods in an effort to alleviate concerns about the transmission of the virus through international shipments.
It is unclear at this time how these measures will be implement and what impact they may have on international trade and travel.
The Chinese authorities have emphasized the importance of protecting vulnerable groups and ensuring sufficient testing resources are available in the community. They will also use other measures, such as monitoring hospitals and sewage in urban areas, as part of their early warning system for Covid infections and the emergence of new variants. These measures aim to effectively control the spread of the virus and protect public health.