More countries around the world are joining the United States in imposing new rules on travelers from China amid concerns over Beijing's lack of transparency about the rising number of COVID-19 cases . The explosion of new infections led to a collapse that severely disrupted the lives of 1.4 billion people and the country's economy as the Chinese government decided to end its long-standing "zero Covid" policy.
These restrictions were lifted almost immediately, and Beijing soon lifted the ban on domestic travel and resumed issuing passports to Chinese citizens, allowing them to travel within the country and around the world for the first time before China. New Year holiday. There is a growing demand for flights to holiday destinations in China and around the world that have been out of reach for years.
But with clear anecdotal evidence of a rapid increase in cases and deaths in China and Beijing delaying the sharing of genetic information about the new wave of cases, many countries have imposed mandatory tests and other restrictions on travelers from China in recent weeks. including the USA, Japan and many European countries . And the list is growing every day.
Several of the EU's 27 countries have introduced mandatory COVID tests for Chinese travelers, with most countries backing the move and several health ministers, including Germany, the EU's largest economy, calling for the rule to be adopted globally. block
Life in Asia's largest nation has been sharply divided as Beijing continues to impose new rules targeting its own citizens, threatening "retaliation " and calling the restrictions politically motivated.
As the number of people infected with COVID-19 increases, the young, fit and healthy are wasting no time in regaining their freedom and enjoying a normal life.
But it's a different story in China's overcrowded hospitals, where many health workers are working on an urgent basis to treat elderly or unvaccinated COVID patients.
In his New Year's address, Chinese President Xi Jinping made no mention of the almost unprecedented protests that began in November demanding an end to zero-tolerance restrictions on Covid-19. He also failed to mention the fact that his government suddenly lifted strict restrictions days after the protests.
It is too early to say whether Xi Jinping's handling of the pandemic has hurt him or the ruling Communist Party he leads, but in his speech he called for unity and warned of tough challenges ahead.
It's unclear how difficult the coming weeks and months will be, but some experts believe the coronavirus could kill another 1 million people in China this summer.
Posts on social media show morgues and rural hospitals are running out of everything from heat to medicine.
But as countries imposing new restrictions continue to be singled out, China does not release reliable data on COVID cases and deaths. Officials say there is "no possibility" of detecting new cases, even after strict rules covering mandatory routine tests were lifted last month .
"I think the most we can say is that it's very bad," Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia in England, told CBS News.
One of the concerns expressed by countries imposing new travel restrictions is that a new, deadlier version could emerge as the virus spreads almost unchecked among China's vast population, giving the epidemic a second wind.
But Hunter said the virus is "always evolving," adding that so far "the information we have does not indicate that there are new variants coming from China."
The problem, again, is that the global health community's knowledge of the outbreak in China is very patchy.
The current version is particularly dangerous for the vast majority of Chinese, who do not have access to more effective Western vaccines because their government refuses to accept them, even for free.
China is now bracing for a second wave as millions of city dwellers take the virus home with them for the Lunar New Year.