Sunday, January 29, 2023

Government defends ‘modest’ rules for China travelers

Health Minister Mark Butler says Australia welcomes renewed travel with China despite imposing entry requirements on people arriving from the mainland.

Travelers to China will need to return a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of departure on Thursday, as cases surge after Beijing eases virus restrictions.

Butler said he welcomed China opening its borders and allowing citizens to travel again, with the number of travelers expected to increase in Australia.

He said it was “a very polite and balanced decision.”

“I know that millions of Australians of Chinese descent, in particular, are looking forward to the opportunity to reunite with family and friends,” he told Seven. dawn monday.

“This is a very positive development, but we need to make sure we have the information we need to protect the health of Australians.”

British health data firm Airfinity estimates that COVID deaths in China will top 25,000 a day in late January and daily cases will reach 3.7 million in the next fortnight.

The World Health Organization has raised concerns about the transparency of data coming from Beijing, making it difficult to get a precise handle on the number of cases and deaths.

The Business Council of Australia has warned against a “rollback” of freedoms and a move to live with the virus.

Butler said he disagreed with this claim.

“I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be a deal breaker for people,” he said.

The United States, Britain, France, India, Japan, Malaysia, Spain and South Korea have imposed similar measures on travelers arriving from China.

China’s foreign ministry has criticized the move, even though it also requires a negative test to enter the mainland.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that “official medical experts from various countries have said that the entry ban on travelers arriving from China is unnecessary.”

Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson said it was a sensible move but did not mean Chinese students could not return to start or continue their studies.

Nation World News Desk
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