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Beijing Threatens ‘Countermeasures’ After Countries Worldwide Adopt COVID-19 Curbs on Chinese Travellers


The Chinese regime has taken aim at what it calls “unacceptable” measures adopted by multiple countries for travelers from China, as the nation battles with an influx of new COVID-19 cases.

During a daily briefing on Dec. 3, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning claimed the measures “lack scientific basis.”

The comments come after Australia and Canada this week joined a growing number of countries that now require passengers coming from China to test negative for COVID-19 prior to boarding their flight.

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

“We are firmly opposed to attempts to manipulate the COVID measures for political purposes and will take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity,” she added, without providing further details regarding the countermeasures.

The United States, UK, Australia, Canada, France, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Malaysia, and Qatar are just some of the countries that now require passengers arriving from China to provide negative COVID-19 tests before arrival amid concerns over an increase in cases across the country.

The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, has said that an “overwhelming number” of member states also want similar restrictions on passengers coming from China.

CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
Patients on beds at Tianjin Nankai Hospital in Tianjin, China, on Dec. 28, 2022. (Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images)

Chinese Media Plays Down Situation

While China’s state media continues to play down the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, health experts believe the figures to be high.

In an article published on Tuesday, People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), quoted several experts as saying the illness caused by the virus was “relatively mild” for most people.

“Severe and critical illnesses account for 3 percent to 4 percent of infected patients currently admitted to designated hospitals in Beijing,” Tong Zhaohui, vice president of Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, told the newspaper.

Figures released by the Chinese regime show that the death toll in the country since the start of the pandemic is 5,253. According to its last daily COVID update on Dec. 24, there were less than 5,000 cases.

However, a report released by the UK-based health data firm Airfinity on Dec. 29, estimated that around 9,000 people in China are probably dying each day from COVID-19.

Responding to the sharp comments from the Chinese regime on Tuesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said “there’s no cause for retaliation” by Beijing just because countries around the world are “taking prudent health measures to protect their citizens.”

“That’s what you’re seeing from us and others,” Jean-Pierre said, referring to Washington. “This decision is based on public health and science.  This is coming from our experts here.”

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne also defended the tests, telling France-Info radio on Tuesday, “We are in our role, my government is in its role, protecting the French.”

China Faces Surge in Cases After Loosening Zero COVID Measures
China Faces Surge in Cases After Loosening Zero COVID Measures
A patient on oxygen is wheeled on a gurney into a busy emergency room at a hospital in Beijing, on Jan. 2, 2023. (Getty Images)

Chronic Drug Shortage Sees Cost of Medication Skyrocket

Elsewhere, the UK’s Transport Secretary Mark Harper told LBC radio on Tuesday that the country’s testing requirement is needed to collect information because the CCP is not sharing data on COVID-19 with the international community.

China has had some of the strictest lockdown measures in place during the pandemic, including rigorous testing and quarantine for those few foreigners who were able to visit the country.

But in a surprise move, the CCP scrapped its draconian zero-COVID policy in December, including lockdowns and mass testing, and revealed plans to reopen its borders on Jan. 8.

Since then there have been reports of widespread and chronic shortages of drugs at pharmacies.

In some cases, medicines such as liquid ibuprofen, which typically sells for around $20 per bottle, are being sold for as much as $1,453 as desperate Chinese try to get their hands on the fever relief medicine amid shortages.

Both Washington and the EU have offered to help China, including providing vaccine donations, but those offers have been rebuffed by Beijing, which said it has the situation “under control” and medical provisions “in adequate supply.”

The World Health Organization has also called on China to share more real-time information about the virus situation as the country has been notoriously bad at sharing such data with the international community.

Chinese health officials said last week that they had submitted data to GISAID, a global platform for sharing coronavirus data.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Katabella Roberts

Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.



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