The United States, Canada, Japan and France are among more than a dozen countries that have clamped down on travelers from China.
China has called increasing international restrictions on travelers to its territory “unacceptable” after more than a dozen countries imposed new coronavirus restrictions on visitors to the world’s most populous nation.
The United States, Canada, Japan and France are among the countries insisting that all travelers from China provide negative COVID-19 tests before arrival, as concerns grow over a spike in cases.
The sharp rise in infections in China comes after Beijing abruptly lifted its zero-COVID policies in December, causing hospitals and crematoriums to quickly become overwhelmed.
However, Beijing has gone ahead with a long-awaited reopening, announcing the end of the mandatory quarantine on arrival last week, in a move that prompted Chinese people to plan trips abroad.
“Some countries have taken entry restrictions targeting Chinese travelers only,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said at a regular briefing on Tuesday.
“This lacks scientific basis and some practices are unacceptable,” he added, warning that China could “take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity.”
However, when asked about China’s reaction, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne defended the new rules.
“I think we are doing our duty by asking for evidence,” Borne told Franceinfo radio. “We will continue to do so.”
The imposed rules affect all travelers from China, not just Chinese citizens, while Beijing continues to restrict the entry of visitors and not grant visas for tourists or international students.
Countries, including the US, have also cited Beijing’s lack of transparency on infection data and the risk of new variants as a reason to restrict travellers.
China has only recorded 22 COVID deaths since December and has slashed the criteria for classifying such deaths, meaning Beijing’s own statistics on the record wave are now seen as failing to reflect reality.
The virus overwhelms Shanghai
As health workers across the country battle a surge in cases, a senior doctor at one of Shanghai’s main hospitals said 70 percent of the megacity’s population may now have been infected with COVID-19. , state media reported on Tuesday.
Chen Erzhen, vice president of Ruijin Hospital and a member of Shanghai’s COVID expert advisory panel, estimated that most of the city’s 25 million residents may have been infected.
“Now the spread of the epidemic in Shanghai is very wide and may have reached 70 percent of the population, which is 20 to 30 times more than [in April and May]he told Jiangdong Studio, owned by Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily.
In other major cities, including Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing and Guangzhou, Chinese health officials have suggested the wave has already peaked.
Concerns have also been raised about near-term growth prospects in the world’s second-largest economy, leading to volatility in global financial markets.
Data on Tuesday showed China’s factory activity contracted at a steeper pace in December.
Last month, shipments from Foxconn’s iPhone plant in Zhengzhou, disrupted by worker departures and unrest amid a COVID outbreak, accounted for 90 percent of the company’s initial plans.
A “wildfire” of infections in China in the coming months is likely to hurt its economy this year and drag down global growth, International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva said.
“China is entering the most dangerous weeks of the pandemic,” Capital Economics analysts warned.
The mobility data suggested that economic activity was depressed across the country and would likely remain so until infections subsided, they added.