China’s COVID-19 outbreak brings new travel rules, but are they worth it? - Firenewsfeed!

China’s COVID-19 outbreak brings new travel rules, but are they worth it?

China’s COVID-19 outbreak brings new travel rules, but are they worth it?
China’s COVID-19 outbreak brings new travel rules, but are they worth it?

As China battles a concerning COVID-19 outbreak, several countries have imposed rules on Chinese travellers.

But if we’re genuinely concerned about a new variant, does it make sense for Australia and the world to target just one part of the global population?

On Thursday several countries, including the United States, India, Japan and Italy, announced COVID testing could be mandatory for travellers coming from China. Australia has not made a similar decision.

An epidemiologist told The New Daily it did not make sense to bring in such measures in isolation and for only one part of the global population, when COVID-19 was everywhere.

China recently abruptly abandoned its strict zero-COVID approach and now cases are surging, with hospitals and funeral homes reportedly under immense pressure.

In response to the outbreak and out of fear the surge could bring about a new variant, other countries have acted in an attempt to slow the spread.

“Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world,” the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.

“However, reduced testing and case reporting in the [People’s Republic of China] and minimal sharing of viral genomic sequence data could delay the identification of new variants of concern if they arise.”

Passengers go through immigration at the international airport in Hong Kong on December 28, 2022
An explosion of COVID-19 cases led to some countries imposing travel rules for passengers coming from China. Photo: AFP/Getty

Starting on January 5, the US will require all travellers aged two and over to take a test no more than two days before they depart from China, Hong Kong and Macau.

So far, Italy, Japan, Taiwan and India have also implemented similar travel rules.

Italy has already begun testing passengers for COVID-19 upon arrival.

Already, health authorities in Italy said that on one flight to Milan, 38 per cent of passengers tested positive and on a second flight, 52 per cent of passengers arriving from China tested positive, The Hill reported.

What’s Australia going to do?

For the time being, nothing.

Although Australia will continue to monitor the COVID situation in China, no travel requirements will be brought in just yet.

“We will continue to monitor the situation there, as we do around the world, and will respond in accordance to health advice,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told Sunrise on Thursday.

“At this point in time, there has been no change to the travel advice between China and Australia.”

China’s COVID outbreak was ‘inevitable’

Epidemiologist from the University of Adelaide, Associate Professor Emma Miller, said China’s surge in COVID cases was inevitable.

She told The New Daily it seems all the more scary and accelerated because of the sudden change in policy, allowing COVID to run rampant.

Dr Miller said it does not make sense to target one country with measures, like the US and other countries have just implemented, when COVID-19 is everywhere.

She also thinks the concern surrounding China is justified, but also that more should be done everywhere else.

“From a population with only partial immunity, like China that has suddenly opened the borders, it’s not that we shouldn’t be alarmed. It is just that we should be taking appropriate measures everywhere,” she said.

In her opinion, there is nothing wrong with asking people to take a COVID test before they fly, or check to see if they have symptoms.

“Once you have people moving in and out and around, which we have been, it doesn’t really make any sense to target one particular population,” she said.

This picture shows Covid-19 patients on beds at Tianjin Nankai Hospital in Tianjin on December 28, 2022
Hospitals are overwhelmed as COVID cases climb in China, after the zero-COVID policy and strict controls were scrapped.

What to do if we’re genuinely concerned about new variants

COVID-19 doesn’t observe the lines on a map.

Although there have been concerns about a new variant emerging from China’s recent surge, the reality is a new variant could pop up anywhere in the world.

Dr Miller isn’t saying people shouldn’t be careful or alert, but we now have to think about what we will do if someone travels with COVID-19.

Much of the public health components in response to the pandemic, such as mask wearing, have been removed.

“It’s not easy to put it all back together, as tight as it was before – not that I’m suggesting it should be,” she said.

“But we’ve completely dismantled all of our protective and preventive activities, including wearing a mask or just testing people, or making sure that they’re notifying when they are found to be positive.

“I don’t want to come across as saying, ‘Oh, let’s not bother’, or ‘It’s not important’. It’s just that I think that a lot of those other things that were let go are equally important if we’re genuinely concerned about the threat of new variants coming from China.”

The post China’s COVID-19 outbreak brings new travel rules, but are they worth it? appeared first on The New Daily.

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