China Imposes New Travel Curbs on South Korean, Japanese Travelers

China is taking further retaliatory steps against South Korea and Japan over the two countries’ strict coronavirus testing requirements on Chinese visitors.

China’s National Immigration Administration announced Wednesday it is suspending its travel visa exemptions for South Korean and Japanese nationals. The decision comes a day after Beijing suspended issuing short-term visas for citizens of both countries.

Beijing abruptly reversed its strict “zero-Covid” strategy on December 7. The strategy, first imposed in 2020, included swift and severe lockdowns, quarantines and mass testing in several cities with a significant COVID-19 outbreak. It triggered unusual and intense public protests across many Chinese cities and an economic downturn due to factory shutdowns.

But the end of the “zero-Covid” strategy has also led to an apparent resurgence of the virus, prompting several nations, including South Korea and Japan, to impose new travel requirements on Chinese visitors, such as undergoing rapid COVID-19 testing upon arrival and mandatory quarantine if the person tests positive for the virus.

The World Health Organization said earlier this week China is withholding data involving this latest COVID-19 outbreak.

Source: Voice of America

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