Health Medical

Australia, Canada to impose negative Covid test for travelers from China

Covid-19 China travel restrictions Aiustralia, Canada

HQ Team

January 1, 2023: Australia and Canada have joined other nations in imposing a negative Covid-19 virus test while travelling to their countries, according to two separate government statements.

Australia will introduce pre-departure testing for Covid-19 for people travelling to the country from the People’s Republic of China, including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

The move is in response to the significant wave of COVID-19 infections in China and the potential for emerging viral variants in that country, according to the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care.

From Thursday, January 5 2023, travellers will be required to undertake a COVID-19 test within 48 hours before travel and show evidence of a negative test result when travelling to Australia.

Australia joins other countries worldwide, including France, India, Japan, Malaysia, Spain, the Republic of Korea, England and the United States of America, in implementing similar measures.

“These arrangements are precautionary and temporary and will remain under review based on the health advice and available information,” Mark Butler, Minister for Health and Aged care, said.

New variants

“My department is working closely with states and territories to monitor Australia’s situation. In addition, the government continues to work closely with state and territory governments to improve our capacity to detect and rapidly respond to any new emerging concern variants.”

“This small but sensible move will help protect people at risk of severe illness and safeguard our healthcare system,” he said.

The Public Health Agency of Canada stated that its response was based on the surge of Covid 19 in China.

Given the limited epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data available on these cases, the government intends to implement specific temporary health measures for air travellers entering Canada from China.

From January 5, all air travellers who are two years of age and older, arriving on flights originating from China, Hong Kong or Macao, will need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than two days before their departure, to the airline before boarding.

Airline documentation

The test could be either a harmful molecular (such as a PCR test) or a negative antigen test with documentation showing that a telehealth service or an accredited laboratory or testing provider has monitored it. 

Passengers who tested positive more than ten days before their departure flight, but no more than 90 days, can provide the airline with documentation of their prior positive, in place of a negative test result, according to the government statement.

These planned health measures will apply to air travellers, regardless of nationality and vaccination status and will e in place for 30 days.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is also implementing a pilot project on wastewater testing from aircraft at Vancouver International Airport and expanding the existing project with Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The projects will assess the Covid-19 prevalence in various regions of the world. The samples are then sequenced to monitor for novel variants of concern.

WHO concern

The WHO has told Chinese officials to regularly share specific and real-time data on the Covid-19 pandemic as Beijing eases the world’s strictest Covid-19 lockdown.

According to a WHO statement, the WHO told the Chinese officials to provide more genetic sequencing data and data on disease impact, including hospitalisations, intensive care unit admissions and deaths.

President Xi Jinping, in his New Year address to the nation, said China has actively shared the Covid response experience with the world.

Beijing has sent large quantities of supplies, vaccines and medicines to other countries and is deeply engaged in science-based cooperation on COVID-19 origins tracing.

He said the efforts were “sincere and proactive” to contribute to humanity’s final victory over the pandemic.

“With extraordinary efforts, we have prevailed over unprecedented difficulties and challenges, and it has not been an easy journey for anyone. We have now entered a new phase of the COVID response where tough challenges remain. 

“Everyone is holding on with great grit, and the light of hope is right in front of us. Let’s make an extra effort to pull through, as perseverance and solidarity mean victory,” Xi said.

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