China threatens countries Covid testing Chinese people after Australia brought in the measure

China threatens ‘payback’ over any country that’s introduced mandatory Covid testing against their travellers – two days after Australia announced it was bringing in the change

  • China has threatened countries who impose Covid testing on Chinese people 
  • Australia introduced mandatory testing on travellers from China two days prior 
  • Treasurer Jim Chalmers says he’s not worried by the threats made from China 

Treasurer Jim Chalmers says he’s not concerned about China threatening retaliatory action with new COVID testing requirements due to come into effect.

Travellers from China, Hong Kong and Macau will need to return a negative COVID test within 48 hours of departure from Thursday despite Australia’s chief medical officer recommending against the new measure.

Australia joins the U.S., Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Canada India and Japan in introducing mandatory testing.

China criticised the measures, threatening to retaliate with reciprocal measures.

Australia has introduced mandatory Covid testing for travellers arriving from China, Hong Kong and Macau (stock image)

Australia has introduced mandatory Covid testing for travellers arriving from China, Hong Kong and Macau (stock image)

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said the entry restrictions targeting China lacked scientific basis.

‘We are firmly opposed to attempts to manipulate the COVID measures for political purposes and will take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity,’ she said.

‘New strains can emerge anywhere, so there is no need for special entry restrictions on China.

‘China always believes that the epidemic prevention measures of various countries should be scientific and appropriate, and should not take the opportunity to ¬≠engage in political manipulation, discriminatory practices, and normal personnel exchanges, exchanges and co-operation should not be affected.’

But details of the measures remain unclear, with China already requiring a negative test within 48 hours of departure and travellers only able to board a flight with a negative result. 

China is fighting a nationwide outbreak of the coronavirus, with hundreds of millions of people possibly contracting the virus.

It came after the country abruptly eased restrictions that were in place for much of the pandemic. 

Treasurer Jim Chalmers says mandatory testing was implemented in Australia as a precaution despite conflicting advice from Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly.

China criticised the measures, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning (pictured) saying the restrictions lacked scientific basis. She added that China would adopt 'countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity'

China criticised the measures, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning (pictured) saying the restrictions lacked scientific basis. She added that China would adopt ‘countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity’

China is fighting a nationwide outbreak of Covid-19 after the nation abruptly eased restrictions in place during the pandemic (stock image)

China is fighting a nationwide outbreak of Covid-19 after the nation abruptly eased restrictions in place during the pandemic (stock image)

‘Every decision that we take is influenced by the [CMO’s] advice but we decided to err on the side of the caution,’ he said. 

Dr Chalmers says he’s not particularly concerned about the threat made by China for going through with the measure.

‘Countries will make their own decisions about travel arrangements and how they manage COVID more broadly,’ he told ABC Radio.

Dr Chalmers added that the requirement to have a medical practitioner supervise a rapid antigen test wasn’t an onerous one for travellers despite China’s hospital system facing immense strain.

The treasurer also maintained the measures were not discriminatory despite no new COVID-19 variants being discovered in China, saying the decision was cautionary with Beijing not being forthcoming with data.

‘It’s about a part of the world where we’ve got concerns about transparency … and where there is quite an extraordinarily large wave of COVID,’ he said.

‘We do need to make sure that we’ve got the best possible surveillance of strains as they emerge but also waves as they emerge and become more difficult to manage.

‘That’s really one of the key considerations here as we put these responsible restrictions in place.’

Treasurer Jim Chalmers (pictured) said the government's decision to enforce mandatory Covid testing was cautionary despite conflicting advice from Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly

Treasurer Jim Chalmers (pictured) said the government’s decision to enforce mandatory Covid testing was cautionary despite conflicting advice from Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly

Australian Medical Association President Steve Robson says a genuine strategy rather than a 'series of political responses' is needed to keep Australians safe from Covid (stock image)

Australian Medical Association President Steve Robson says a genuine strategy rather than a ‘series of political responses’ is needed to keep Australians safe from Covid (stock image)

Opposition health spokeswoman Anne Ruston said the government needed to explain why it didn’t follow expert advice after Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly advised there were no public health reasons for the measure.

‘This government made a commitment to the Australian public that we were going to learn to live with COVID,’ she told Sky News.

‘A decision that has been based without any medical advice or medical necessity shows we aren’t really pursuing that.

‘It’s a breach of faith with the Australian public about that commitment to say we were going to get on with our lives.’

Australian Medical Association President Steve Robson says a genuine strategy rather than a ‘series of political responses’ is needed to keep Australians safe.

‘We want to see a comprehensive strategy that’s informed by public health practice, to just say, ‘what needs to be done to protect Australians at this vulnerable time?” he told AAP.

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