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    Canada, Australia impose COVID rules on travellers from China

    BEIJING (AP) – Australia and Canada have joined a growing list of countries requiring travelers from China to take a COVID-19 test prior to boarding their flight, as China battles a nationwide outbreak of the coronavirus after abruptly easing restrictions that were in place for much of the pandemic.

    Australian health authorities said yesterday that from January 5 all air travelers from mainland China, Hong Kong or Macao will need to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within two days of their departure.

    Canadian authorities announced similar measures that will also come into effect January 5.

    Australia and Canada join other countries including the United States (US), the United Kingdom, India, Japan and several European nations in imposing tougher COVID-19 measures on Chinese travelers amid concerns over a lack of data on infections in China and fears of the possibility that new variants may spread.

    China, which for most of the pandemic adopted a “zero-COVID” strategy that imposed restrictions aimed at stamping out the virus, abruptly eased those measures in December.

    Chinese authorities previously said that from January 8, overseas travellers would no longer need to quarantine upon arriving in China, paving the way for Chinese residents to travel.

    Hong Kong is also preparing for quarantine-free travel to China, with plans to resume operations of more border checkpoints as early as January 8, according to a Facebook post by Hong Kong Chief Secretary Eric Chan.

    However, a quota will remain in place limiting the number of travelers between the two places.

    “Depending on the first phase of the situation, we will gradually expand the scale for a complete re-opening of the border.”

    People stand near light decorations at a mall in Beijing. PHOTO: AP
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