COVID Alert! Australia takes U-turn; invokes pre-departure COVID-19 tests for passengers from China

COVID Alert! Australia takes U-turn; invokes pre-departure COVID-19 tests for passengers from China

An officer collects passports from residents for renewal
Image Source : AP An officer collects passports from residents for renewal and re-applications at a community police station in Beijing.

China COVID-19 scare: Nearly two days after Australia said it would not invoke any fresh rule for passengers arriving from China, it took a U-turn on Saturday and joined a growing list of countries that have imposed strict precautionary directions for Chinese. According to media reports, the country said the new regulations were temporary and added passengers travelling from China, Hong Kong and Macao have to show negative test reports for COVID-19 before leaving for Canada.

The requirement will apply to all air travellers aged two and older from the three countries and will begin on Jan. 5, the federal government said in a news release Saturday. “These planned health measures will apply to air travellers, regardless of nationality and vaccination status,” the release said. “They are temporary measures, in place for 30 days, that will be reassessed as more data and evidence becomes available.”

US also invoked similar measures for Chinese passengers

The United States announced on Wednesday it would require all travellers from China to show a negative COVID-19 test result before flying to the country as Beijing’s rapid easing of COVID-19 restrictions leads to a surge in cases.

The Canadian government said its new testing measure is “in response to the surge of COVID-19 in the People’s Republic of China and given the limited epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data available on these cases.”

Both antigen and PCR tests are valid

People will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline, take no more than two days before their departure, before boarding a flight to Canada. The test can be either molecular, such as a PCR test, or an antigen test from a telehealth service or an accredited laboratory or testing provider, the release said.

Passengers who tested positive more than 10 days before their flight leaves, but not more than 90 days, can provide the airline with proof of their positive test instead. “Since the start, our Government has taken the necessary steps to keep Canadians safe in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” federal health minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a statement. “Our actions continue to be guided by prudence and we will not hesitate to adjust measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians.”

(With inputs from AP)

Also Read: COVID-19: China facing tough challenges with new phase of ‘coronavirus’, says Xi Jinping

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Author: Shirley