Beijing is lifting the ban on overseas travel of its citizens beginning on January 8, marking an end to almost three years of self-imposed isolation.

As of December 25, Beijing had stopped publishing daily Covid figures.
As of December 25, Beijing had stopped publishing daily Covid figures. (AFP)

More than a dozen countries are placing Covid restrictions on visitors from China, following the announcement from Beijing that it is lifting the ban on overseas travel beginning on January 8, marking an end to almost three years of self-imposed isolation.

Here is a run-down of the places that have imposed mandatory Covid-19 tests and other rules on arrivals from China, which Beijing has condemned and called it "unacceptable".


It is requires all travellers from China - including Hong Kong and Macau - to provide a negative Covid-19 test before arrival, citing a "lack of comprehensive information" from Beijing about the outbreak.


It has announced that passengers traveling from China will be required to test for the coronavirus.

Health Minister Johannes Rauch said the country decided to implement the PCR-testing requirement for those from China to prevent the spread of possible new virus variants in Austria.


The country is asking travellers arriving from China to show a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than two days before their departure.

European Union

All those arriving in France from China must present a negative PCR test result, or a rapid antigen test, that was taken less than 48 hours before their flight.

Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Italy, and Spain have also imposed Covid-19 test requirements.

The bloc said this week it "strongly encouraged" member states demand Covid-19 tests from passengers coming from China and that arrivals are screened for the virus.


France was among the first countries in Europe to announce that travellers from China must present a negative Covid test result two days before their arrival. A random test on passengers from China will also be carried out. It was also France, which pressed all EU states to require testing to all travellers from China.


German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said as European Union government health officials met for talks on Wednesday.

"We must take the current COVID wave from China very, very seriously," Baerbock said during a news conference with her Portuguese counterpart in Lisbon.


It has become one of the first African countries to impose restrictions on travellers from China.

Its foreign ministry said that, from Friday, all arrivals from China must provide a negative test taken 48 hours before departure as well as submit to mandatory screening for the virus.


Air travellers to Greece from China must show they have tested negative for COVID-19 48 hours before arrival, a new requirement that will be announced shortly, two government officials said on Thursday.


India requires travellers from China and a spate of other Asian countries to provide a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure.


Israel is requiring Covid-19 tests on foreigners intending to travel from China, with a screening centre set up to test arrivals who volunteer.

READ MORE: 'Majority' of EU backs Covid pre-departure testing for flights from China


The Italian government has ordered that all travellers from China must undergo antigen swabs and virus sequencing.

According to reports, Milan has already started testing passengers arriving from Beijing and Shanghai. Bloomberg reported on December 28 that based on the results of the testing on two flights from China to Milan, half of the passengers reportedly tested positive of Covid.

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by Covid in early 2020, with over 185,000 deaths reported. 

Since the pandemic, Italy has fully vaccinated more than 80 percent of its population, and many have received booster shots similar to other countries in Western Europe.


Japan was one of the first countries to impose new rules on arrivals from China, requiring them to submit a negative Covid-19 test.

Those who test positive will be quarantined for seven days at designated facilities and Tokyo will also cap flights coming from mainland China.

From Sunday, Japanese authorities will also test travellers from China on arrival.


The north African nation has taken some of the strictest measures, banning entry outright for all travellers from China.

The ban took effect on Tuesday and will last until further notice, "in order to avoid a new wave of contaminations in Morocco and all its consequences", its foreign ministry said. 


Qatar is asking all travellers from China to present a negative PCR result taken within 48 hours of departure, the Gulf state's health ministry has said.

Those who are infected on arrival "must undergo health isolation", state news agency QNA reported.

READ MORE: Social media accounts of Covid policy critics suspended in China

South Korea

South Korea has also taken steps to screen travellers from China, requiring them to provide a negative Covid-19 test before and after arrival.

Travellers from Hong Kong and Macau are included in the rules, which will also require all arrivals to take a Covid-19 test on their first day in South Korea.


The self-ruled island of Taiwan - which China claims as its territory - has imposed testing requirements too, with state news agency CNA reporting that travellers from the mainland will be asked to undergo a saliva-based screening upon arrival.

United Kingdom

From Thursday, all travellers to the UK from China must submit a negative test before boarding.

The UK government also said it would test "a sample of arrivals" to monitor for new variants.

United States

From Thursday, the United States will require negative Covid-19 tests taken within two days of departure - or documentation proving passengers have recovered from the virus within the past 90 days - for all entries from China.

Acceptable tests include "a PCR test or an antigen self-test administered and monitored by a telehealth service or a licensed provider", according to the US Centers for Disease Control.

The rules include those travelling from Hong Kong and Macau.


Malaysia will screen all inbound travellers for fever and test wastewater from aircraft arriving from China for Covid-19.


Portugal will require air travellers from China to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test done no more than two days before departure, its health ministry said on Friday.


Thailand rescinded on Monday measures announced by its aviation regulator a day prior requiring international travellers to show proof of full Covid vaccination or letter certifying recovery from the virus before flying into the country.

The health minister said on Monday that proof of vaccination was not needed as there was sufficient immunisation globally, while those not vaccinated would be granted entry without restriction.

READ MORE: Beijing criticises Covid curbs on Chinese travellers, warns countermeasures

Source: AFP