These Nations are Tightening Border Rules for Chinese Travelers

Morocco has taken the most drastic step of banning visitors of all nationalities entering from the PRC.

A tunnel of torii gateways at Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, Japan. (Photo: Lin Mei/Unsplash)

The start of 2023 is looking increasingly like the early months of 2020: a growing number of countries around the world are imposing pre-departure testing requirements on arrivals from China, with Hong Kong and Macau included in some cases. Fears over the spread of new coronavirus variants from China’s Omicron-fueled outbreak have triggered new border measures by Japan, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy, where more than half of passengers aboard two recent flights from Beijing and Shanghai tested positive on arrival at Milan’s Malpensa Airport.

India has cast the net much wider, making tests mandatory for travelers coming in from six “high risk” countries and regions: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand. Anyone above the age of 12 must upload a negative PCR test report from within 72 hours of departure to the Air Suvidha portal and fill out a self-declaration form before flying.

South Korea, which previously only needed negative PCR test results for arrivals from mainland China, will be adding Hong Kong and Macau to the list from Saturday (January 7). Qatar requires travelers entering the Gulf state from all three jurisdictions to show negative COVID-19 test result at check-in, though this does not apply to passengers transiting through Doha.

From tomorrow, four more countries will mandate pre-departure tests for flyers coming in from China, Hong Kong, and Macau. These include Australia, Canada, and the United States; the former two do not accept results from self-administered RATs. France is also bringing in similar rules on Thursday, and masks will be required for all passengers above the age of six on flights from mainland China and Hong Kong. Discussions are underway in Brussels to coordinate travel measures across the European Union in response to China’s Covid surge, with further details expected in the next few days.

In North Africa, Morocco has announced an outright ban on travelers entering from China, though it is not known if Hong Kong and Macau are included.

Here are the latest testing requirements as of January 10, 2023:

  Tests required for arrivals from:   Testing window before departure
Country/Territory Mainland China Hong Kong and Macau Test Type
Australia Yes Yes RAT/PCR 48 hours
Austria Yes Unspecified PCR 48 hours
Belgium Yes (direct flights only) Unspecified RAT/PCR Unspecified
Canada Yes Yes RAT/PCR 48 hours
Chile Yes Unspecified PCR 48 hours
Finland Yes Unspecified Unspecified 48 hours
France Yes Yes RAT/PCR 48 hours
Germany Yes No RAT Unspecified
Ghana Yes Unspecified PCR 48 hours
Greece Yes (direct flights only) Unspecified RAT/PCR 48 hours
Guyana Yes Yes RAT/PCR 48 hours
India Yes Yes PCR 72 hours
Italy Yes Yes RAT/PCR 48 hours (RAT), 72 hours (PCR)
Japan Yes (on arrival) No for Hong Kong Unspecified N/A
Malaysia (Sabah only) Yes Unspecified RAT/PCR 48 hours
The Netherlands Yes Unspecified Unspecified Unspecified
Portugal Yes (direct flights only) No PCR 48 hours
Qatar Yes Yes PCR 48 hours
South Korea Yes Yes RAT/PCR 24 hours (RAT), 48 hours (PCR)
Spain Yes (if not fully vaccinated) No Unspecified Unspecified
Sweden Yes Yes Unspecified Unspecified
Taiwan Yes (on arrival) No PCR N/A
United Kingdom Yes No Unspecified Unspecified
United States Yes Yes RAT/PCR 48 hours
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