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China vows retaliation for foreign travel restrictions

China vows retaliation for foreign travel restrictions

The United States, Italy, France, United Kingdom and Australia have imposed strict COVID-related entry rules for China arrivals in recent days

After several rounds harsh lockdowns and its severe zero-COVID policy, Beijing government has finally scrapped or eased many of its coronavirus pandemic restrictions and is pressing ahead with a long-awaited reopening.

According to China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning, many foreign nations had responded ‘warmly’ to the country’s newly relaxed COVID-19 regulations.

But some countries reacted to Beijing’s decision to ease its own health policies with ‘disproportionate’ and ‘unacceptable’ restrictions, Mao added.

Chinese government had threatened to retaliate after the United States and other nations reinforced their coronavirus-related entry procedures for visitors arriving from China.

“We stand ready to step up communication with the rest of the international community and work together to prevail over Covid. Meanwhile, we do not believe the entry restriction measures some countries have taken against China are science-based,” Mao said. 

“We firmly reject using Covid measures for political purposes and will take corresponding measures in response to varying situations based on the principle of reciprocity.”

The United States, Italy, France, and United Kingdom have imposed strict COVID-related entry rules for China arrivals in recent days, while the EU’s European Commission has said an ‘overwhelming majority’ of the bloc’s 27 members would like to follow suit.

Australia became one of the latest to adopt new measures against travelers from China on Sunday, requiring negative COVID-19 tests within 48 hours prior to their departure starting on January 5. 

Testing and quarantine requirements have also been introduced elsewhere in Asia, including Japan, India, and Malaysia.

The Chinese government did not specify how it might retaliate to the wave of new COVID-19 measures and has yet to announce any new travel rules of its own, but previously accused Western nations of attempting to “sabotage China’s three years of COVID-19 control efforts and attack the country’s system.”

When asked to comment on Beijing’s ‘sharp rhetoric’ regarding the restrictions, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre insisted that there was ‘no cause for retaliation’ and that countries were merely taking ‘prudent health measures to protect their citizens,’ claiming the policies are based on ‘public health and science.’

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