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Due to a “lack of thorough information” from Beijing regarding the nation’s recent spate of cases, Australia became the latest nation on Sunday to demand Chinese visitors to have a negative Covid-19 test before entering the country.
The decision, which will take effect on January 5, was made, according to Australia’s health minister Mark Butler, “to protect Australia from the risk of potential new emerging types” and “in consideration of the rapidly altering circumstances in China.”
Beijing made the decision to end its “zero-Covid” containment strategy this month, three years after the coronavirus first showed up in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Since then, Chinese hospitals have been swamped with mostly elderly patients, crematoriums have been overrun, and many pharmacies have run out of fever medications.
While more than 97 percent of Australian adults have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, Canberra is concerned that Chinese authorities are not sharing enough information about case numbers and variants that are circulating.
“This action is in response to the huge Covid-19 infection wave in China and the potential for viral strains to emerge there, according to Butler.
Australians are lucky to have easy access to vaccines and treatments as well as a high degree of underlying community immunity.