Beijing: China has suspended its transit visa exemption for South Korean and Japanese citizens, its immigration office said on Wednesday, in yet another retaliatory step against the countries’ entry restrictions on arrivals from China aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.It said Beijing has introduced the measure in response to the neighbours’ “discriminatory” entry regulations against China, reports Yonhap News Agency.The move came a day after Beijing announced measures to halt the issuance of short-term visas for business, tourism, medical treatment and general private affairs.On January 2, South Korea made it mandatory for all arrivals from China to undergo a PCR test within the first day of their entry into the country.
Those who test positive for the virus must be quarantined for one week.South Korea has also made it mandatory for those from Hong Kong and Macao to take a PCR or an antigen test before boarding their flights.Staring from December 30, 2022, Japan made it mandatory for individuals travelling from China to be tested for Covid-19 upon their arrival.
ALSO READ: Knife Attack At Gare du Nord Railway Station In Paris Injures Six People: ReportChina recently moved away from its strict zero-Covid approach to the virus, which had sparked mass unrest after more than two years of tight controls on citizens’ personal lives.China’s strict policy shielded its population from the kind of mass deaths seen in Western nations — a contrast repeatedly driven home by the Communist Party to illustrate the supposed superiority of its restrictions.CNN has reported first-hand in Beijing on the makeshift facilities being used to store the deceased, as overworked staff try to keep up with the volume of crates containing yellow body bags, and families report waiting for days to bury or cremate their loved ones.Meanwhile, China’s official Covid-19 death toll since it eased restrictions remains strikingly low — with only 37 deaths recorded since December 7, 2022.
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