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China retaliates against S.Korea, Japan COVID restrictions

STORY: China stopped issuing short-stay visas to visitors from South Korea and Japan in its first retaliation against domestic COVID-19 restrictions. On Sunday (January 8), China reopened its borders to international visitors, removing the last major restrictions on the country’s controversial zero-COVID-19 strategies. But the sudden policy reversal has unleashed a massive wave of infections among the country’s 1.4 billion inhabitants. Concerns over the scale and impact of the outbreak have prompted several governments to impose restrictions, such as negative tests, on outgoing travellers. Although China requires a negative PCR test for all arrivals, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters that entry restrictions for Chinese travelers are “discriminatory”. epidemic situation in their own countries. China strongly opposes this and will act on the basis of reciprocity. Once again, we call on the relevant countries to be fact-based, to formulate scientific and appropriate epidemic prevention measures, and not to take the opportunity to engage in political manipulation, not to use discriminatory practices, and not to interfere with normal exchanges, exchanges and cooperation between countries. South Korea now requires a negative PCR test for arrivals from China, with those who test positive must be quarantined. Chen is one such traveler who was sent into a hotel quarantine for seven days. On her first foreign visit in three years, she tested positive after landing in Seoul, despite testing negative on departure. ‚ÄúThis policy is aimed at Chinese travelers and I think they could have been more considerate. This has quite a big impact on overall travel sentiment, businesses and individuals. The key question is will they (the Korean government) get what they wanted? I don’t think so. I think this policy is a bit of a failure. On Tuesday, South Korea’s foreign minister said Seoul was in communication with Beijing, adding that the measures taken by the government were based on scientific and objective facts. A number of governments have expressed concerns about Beijing’s data, state media continues to downplay the severity of the outbreak, and the government has stopped publishing daily infection statistics. There are further fears that the Lunar New Year, the world’s largest annual migration, will help fuel the COVID wave. China has dismissed criticism for its figures as politically motivated attempts to denigrate its “success” in handling the pandemic.

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