China suspends issuing visas in Japan, S.Korea to retaliate for COVID curbs

  • China’s embassy condemns “discriminatory” measures in S.Korea territory
  • Some cities are reporting a peak in COVID cases last month
  • Chinese media criticizes Pfizer over Paxlovid price

BEIJING, Jan 10 (Reuters) – China stopped issuing temporary visas to South Korea and Japan on Tuesday, after it announced it would pay for countries that require COVID-19 tests. hate from Chinese fans.

China has lifted quarantines for new arrivals and allowed travelers to re-enter its border with Hong Kong from Tuesday, lifting the last major restrictions under the “no -COVID” started unexpectedly in early December after previous protests against the barriers.

But the virus is spreading among its 1.4 billion people and concerns about the size and impact of its outbreak have prompted Japan, South Korea, the United States and other countries to require negative COVID tests from travelers. from China.

Although China will impose testing requirements on all arrivals, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Tuesday that entry procedures for Chinese travelers were “discriminatory,” and that the China “reciprocal terms”.

In the first retaliatory action, the Chinese embassy in South Korea stopped issuing short-term visas to South Korean visitors. He will adjust the policy under the repeal of Korea’s “discriminatory access measures” against China, the ambassador said on his official WeChat account.

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China’s embassy in Japan later announced a similar move, saying the mission and its consulates had stopped issuing visas since Tuesday. The embassy did not say when they would return.

The move came shortly after Japan tightened COVID-19 rules for travelers coming directly from China, citing a negative PCR test result less than 72 hours in before departure, and a negative test upon arrival in Japan. read more

Due to the spread of the virus, China has stopped publishing daily death tolls. Five or fewer deaths a day since the U-turn policy, figures disputed by the World Health Organization, are not consistent with funeral providers who claim an increase in the application.

Some governments have raised concerns about the accuracy of Beijing’s data as international experts predict 1 million deaths in China this year. Washington also raised concerns about future changes to the virus.

China rejects criticism of its data as politicians try to play down its “success” in controlling the epidemic and says future changes will be more robust but limited even worse.

“Since the outbreak, China has been open and transparent,” Foreign Minister Wang said.

But as infections continue to spread throughout mainland China, many, including the elderly, don’t bother to get tested.

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Government media downplayed the severity of the outbreak.

An article in the Health Times, a publication run by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, quoted officials as saying that infections are declining in the capital city of Beijing and some provinces in China.

Officials at Shenzhen’s southern powerhouse said Tuesday that the city has once again reached its peak.

Kan Quan, director of the Department of Henan Provincial Epidemic Prevention and Control, said that nearly 90% of people in the central province of 100 million people have been infected on January 6.

In the eastern province of Jiangsu, which peaked on December 22, in the nearby Zheijiang district “the first wave of infections has passed,” officials said.

Financial markets looked at the new border barriers as nothing more than a distraction, with the yuan hitting a near five-month high.

While daily flights into and out of China are still a tenth of pre-COVID levels, businesses across Asia, from South Korean and Japanese store owners to Thai tour bus operators and K-pop groups raised the prospect of more Chinese tourists.

To mark the reopening, Beijing’s Daxing International Airport will reopen for the first time in nearly three years from January 17, along with Beijing Capital International Airport.

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Chinese consumers spent $250 billion annually overseas before COVID.


Border regulations aren’t the only COVID-19 war that has come out of China.

Government media slammed Pfizer Inc ( PFE.N ) over the price of its COVID treatment Paxlovid.

“It’s no secret that the U.S. military has collected a lot of money from the world by selling vaccines and drugs, and the U.S. government is always coordinating it,” the statement said. the national group Global Times in a statement.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Monday that the company is in discussions with Chinese authorities about the price of Paxlovid, but not on the licensing of any kind in China.

China’s sudden change in COVID policies has left many hospitals without enough, but small towns have been left scrambling for anti-fever drugs.

Yu Weishi, chairman of Youcare Pharmaceutical Group, told Reuters his firm boosted production of its anti-fever drugs five times to one million boxes a day last month.

Information from the Beijing and Shanghai offices; Additional reporting by Rocky Swift and Maki Shiraki in Tokyo; Written by Marius Zaharia and Greg Torode; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Peter Graff

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters’ Guardian Principles.


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