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Passengers wearing face masks pull baggage at a departure lobby in Beijing Capital International Airport
Chinese people face travel restrictions once again due to COVID-19Image: Kyodo/picture alliance

Japan to require COVID-19 tests for visitors from China

December 27, 2022

Japan has now joined India in requiring travelers from China to show a negative coronavirus test on arrival. It comes after China announced the relaxation of COVID-19 rules for foreign visitors.


Japan would require negative COVID-19 tests for travelers from China, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.

His government would also reduce a planned increase in flights between Japan and China "just to be safe.''

"There are growing worries in Japan'' about rising cases in China, Kishida said. "We have decided to take a temporary special measure to respond to the situation."

The measure to "prevent rapid increase of infections,'' begins Friday, he said. Chinese visitors who test positive would be quarantined for one week.

Last week, India mandated a coronavirus test for travelers from China, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Thailand while ordering quarantine for those showing symptoms or testing positive.

China ends travel quarantine

On Monday, China said it would end quarantines for travelers from abroad on January 8.

It is the most significant step toward ending limits that have kept most foreign visitors out of China since early 2020.

Travelers will only have to prove they have tested negative for COVID-19 before departing for China. They will not have to test on arrival.

The head of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China welcomed Beijing's plan to scrap entry quarantines in January as a "baby step" in the right direction for investors.

"It's one of many steps that we have to take," Jörg Wuttke, who is also German chemical giant BASF's top representative in China, told DW Business.

"Opening up (means) that our people can go to training again in Europe, that our CEOs can finally fly in from Germany, for example. But at the same time, we have a lot of uncertainties over here."

COVID-19: China's health system at its limits

Virus spreading largely unchecked

Earlier this month, Beijing ended its zero-COVID policy, following almost three years of lockdowns, mass testing, and other strict measures.

The World Health Organization had said it was very concerned about rising reports of severe cases across China after Beijing scrapped the policy.

As part of the change the country now only counts pneumonia or respiratory failure deaths in its official COVID-19 toll. That excludes many deaths other countries would attribute to COVID-19.

The official figures have been largely disputed since there are multiple reports by families of relatives dying in the country of over 1.4 billion people.

According to internal estimates that have not been officially confirmed, 248 million people, or 18% of the population, were infected with Covid-19 in the first three weeks of December alone.

On Monday, the National Health Commission downgraded COVID-19 from a Class A infectious disease to a Class B disease and removed it from the list of illnesses that require quarantine.

lo/dj (AP, dpa, Reuters)