China calls for ‘science-based’ response amid global travel restrictions

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China has expressed its dissatisfaction at entry restrictions enforced by various countries on Chinese travelers, saying any COVID-19 control measures need to be “proportionate” and “science-based”. 

In a press conference held on December 30, 2022, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin called entry restrictions on travelers arriving from China “unnecessary”.

“I have stated that for all countries, COVID response measures need to be science-based and proportionate without affecting normal travel and people-to-people exchange and cooperation. Over the past few days, authoritative medical experts from different countries have said that entry restrictions on travelers arriving from China are unnecessary,” Wang said. 

Wang also claimed that his country has been “open and transparent” with its COVID-19 data, amid concerns that China’s counting method does not correspond with World Health Organization (WHO) guidance, and has resulted in a figure that is way below the death toll in many other countries.

“Since the start of COVID-19, China has been sharing relevant information and data in an open and transparent manner with the international community, including the WHO. We shared the genome sequence of the virus at the earliest opportunity, making important contributions to the drug and vaccine research and development in countries around the world,” Wang stated in the press conference.

On January 3, 2022, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning stated that China will take corresponding countermeasures on countries that impose travel restrictions on travelers from China.

“Some countries have adopted entry restrictions targeting only China, which lack scientific basis, and some excessive practices are even more unacceptable,” Mao said.

“We are firmly opposed to attempts to manipulate epidemic prevention and control measures for political purposes, and will take corresponding countermeasures for different situations in accordance with the principle of reciprocity,” Mao continued. 

Mao said that quarantine measures should be scientific and pertinent, and must not hamper exchanges and cooperation.

More than a dozen countries around the world have already imposed strict restrictions on travelers from China amid news of a massive COVID-19 surge in the country.

As of January 4, 2022, countries with restrictions on travelers from China include the US, the UK, Australia, France, Japan, Canada, India, Malaysia, Qatar, Morocco, South Korea, Taiwan, and Italy.

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