Chinese government criticises 'unacceptable' new Covid rules for passengers from China

Beijing has criticised the recent decision of 12 countries to require passengers from China to have a negative Covid test 48 hours before their flight and has threatened retaliatory action.

The US, Australia, Canada, the UK, India, Japan and several European nations recently announced tougher measures on travelers from the country.

China's Foreign Ministry described the new entry restrictions as "unacceptable" and "excessive".

“We are firmly opposed to attempts to manipulate the Covid measures for political purposes and will take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity,” said spokesperson Mao Ning.

Italy and France are among the European countries enforcing the testing requirement. French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne defended the tests saying it is the role of government to protect its citizens.

Austria, too, plans to test the wastewater of all planes arriving from China for new variants of the coronavirus.

But Germany has said it will not impose a test rule and will instead seek a coordinated system to monitor variants across European airports.

EU countries will meet on Wednesday to discuss a joint response to the surge in Covid infections in China.

China is currently witnessing a nationwide outbreak of the coronavirus after suddenly easing restrictions in December that were in place during most of the pandemic.