More PCR tests for travellers reintroduced globally as Covid-19 cases soar

More PCR tests for travellers reintroduced globally as Covid-19 cases soar

Mandatory PCR testing of travelers may be a thing of the past in many parts of the world, but regulations are being reintroduced as Covid-19 cases rise again.

This was driven in large part by an increase in cases in China, after Beijing abolished its zero-Covid policy, which included regular PCR testing of its population, sparking worldwide concern.

Qatar announced that the measures, which will be in place from Tuesday, will require people arriving from China to provide a negative Covid-19 result in a test taken within 48 hours of departure.

The testing requirement applies to all travelers regardless of their vaccination status.

On Wednesday, the International Air Transport Association responded to what it called a “knee-jerk reaction” from travelers from China.

“Some countries are introducing Covid-19 testing and other measures for travelers from China, even though the virus has spread widely within their borders. It is very disappointing to see this knee-jerk resurgence of measures that have proven ineffective over the past three years ,” said IATA Director General Willie Walsh.

“Studies surrounding the arrival of the omicron variant concluded that barriers in travel patterns had no effect on the peak in the spread of the infection. At most, restrictions delayed the peak by a few days. If the new variant appeared anywhere in the world, it would be expected to The same happens.

“That’s why governments should heed the advice of experts, including the World Health Organization, who oppose travel restrictions.”

The US, Canada, Australia and the UK will implement PCR testing requirements for all travelers from mainland China starting Thursday. US and Australian guidelines also cover Hong Kong and Macau.

On Sunday, France began random PCR testing of some travelers from China.

Joining France’s ranks are Italy, Spain, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, which have only recently reopened their borders to international travellers.

Morocco has banned the entry of all travelers from China from Tuesday “to avoid a new wave of pollution in Morocco and all its consequences,” the Moroccan foreign ministry said.

Meanwhile, India has expanded its regulations, starting Sunday with mandatory RT-PCR testing for people arriving from mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.

Passengers from these countries must be tested 72 hours before departure.

The country’s existing practice of random testing of 2% of international arrivals will continue.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan also announced screening of 2% of passengers arriving in the country from international destinations.

“Where required, RAT and PCR tests will also be performed,” the authority said on Twitter, urging passengers to always carry their vaccination certificates with them at the airport.

In the Philippines, authorities stepped up Covid-19 surveillance for travelers from China, thoroughly reviewing health declaration forms and intercepting symptomatic travelers on arrival.

“With the recent increase in Covid-19 cases in China, it is necessary for the country to strengthen the monitoring and enforcement of border control protocols at all ports of entry for people entering the country, especially those coming from China,” said the Center for Health Development.

The country’s health ministry has also called for the resumption of testing of incoming travelers from countries on high alert.

China’s first national wave of Covid-19

China said last month it would end mandatory quarantines for people arriving and dropped strict measures to contain the virus.

This led to the first national wave of Covid-19 in the county, almost a full three years after the first infection was recorded in the city of Wuhan in late 2019.

As many as 248 million people, or about 18% of the population, are thought to have been infected with the virus in the first 20 days of December, according to minutes from China’s National Health Commission.

But the World Health Organization has cast doubt on Beijing’s reporting of the data and has urged authorities to share real-time information on the surge in cases so other countries can respond accordingly.

Countries around the world are imposing these new travel restrictions despite the fact that some hospitals and morgues are overwhelmed and the official number of cases and deaths is now low, according to media reports.

However, Andrew Pollard, chairman of the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, said travel restrictions were unlikely to stop the spread of the variant.

He told BBC Radio 4: “Trying to stop the virus by adjusting the way we travel has proven ineffective.” today program.

“We’ve seen that travel from different countries is banned during the pandemic.

“It’s important that we monitor, and when the virus spreads through populations in the UK or Europe, we are able to detect and predict what might happen to the health system, especially those who are more vulnerable populations.”

Updated: January 3, 2023, 6:13 AM

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