Australia and Canada announce COVID travel rules for arrivals from China

Australia and Canada are the latest countries to bring in travel restrictions on arrivals from China.

Travellers from China to Australia will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result from 5 January, the country's health minister Mark Butler said.

The test will have to be taken within 48 hours of the departing flight and the rules will also apply to visitors from Hong Kong and Macau.

Mr Butler said: "I want to stress that the government welcomes the resumption of travel between Australia and China... I also want to stress that this is a temporary measure, reflecting the lack of comprehensive information right now about the situation in China."

Earlier in the day, Canada announced it would bring in a similar rule - all travellers from China, Hong Kong or Macau over the age of two will need to show a negative result from a test taken within two days of departure.

The Canadian government said its measure would be in place for 30 days and would be re-assessed as more data became available.

The two countries join a number of others - including the UK, US, India, Spain, South Korea and France - that have brought in restrictions targeting arrivals from China.

The concern stems from China's reopening following three years of a strict COVID-zero policy that kept borders closed and locals locked down.

But the government, under pressure from growing protests against the measures, reversed its policy with a move towards learning to live with the virus.

Other countries, however, have said that China's COVID-19 data is not transparent, and a lack of information about variants is putting the world at risk of a massive wave of reinfections.

China has denied this, adding that it expects new variants to be more infectious but less severe.

It will continue requiring a negative PCR test before departure for arrivals into its own country, but has said it will stop requiring infected arrivals to go into quarantine from 8 January.