Australia’s government officials in Canberra announced that starting from this Thursday, January 5, all arrivals originating in China will have to present proof of negative test results for COVID-19 received no more than 48 hours prior to the trip to Australia.
By imposing a 48-hour testing rule, Australia joined a number of other countries, including the USA, France and the UK, who introduced similar restrictions.
Beijing government condemned the testing requirements as “unfounded and discriminatory” while accusing Western countries of attempting to “sabotage China’s three years of COVID-19 control efforts and attack the country’s system.”
Professor Paul Kelly, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, advised against mandatory COVID-19 testing for visitors from China, stating “believe that there is sufficient public health rationale to impose any restriction or additional requirements on travelers from China.”
The country’s opposition leader Peter Dutton has accused the government of ignoring Chief Medical Officer’s advice, demanding the explanation from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese why he was not following this recommendation.
“The last thing our country needs is a panicked response from a government that doesn’t have a plan and, frankly, over the last week, has been making it up as they go along,” said Dutton in a statement, adding that new restrictions “disrupt families and businesses.”
“Australians expect that their government is prepared for situations like this; instead, we are left with chaos and confusion,” added Dutton.
According to western media reports, almost 250 million people in China may have contracted COVID-19 in the first 20 days of December.
However, China’s National Health Commission officially reported only 62,592 symptomatic COVID-19 cases for that period, while the country’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbi described the “epidemic situation” as “predictable and under control.”