The world is eager to welcome 2023 where Covid can finally be left in the past and where wearing a face mask is not mandatory. But as soon as things seem to be getting back to normal, China is blowing up with record-breaking Covid infections. The problem? China has opened up and Chinese people are flying all over the world... with Covid. And all over again, it feels like December 2019 and the start of 2020.
What's happening? Remember Milan 2020, when people were dying like flies on the road due to overcrowded hospitals and stretched medical facilities?
What happened in 2020? Milan in the northern Lombardy region in Italy became the epicentre of Europe's Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020.
This time, governments seem to be better informed (hopefully) given the measures being put in place despite protests by the Chinese government. After the US imposed a few Covid restrictions on travellers coming from China, Beijing called all the news on the Covid-19 surge in China 'hype'.
Check out the travel restrictions imposed on passengers from China by various countries:
INDIA: Starting January 1, 2023, India will require all passengers arriving from China, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Thailand to show a negative PCR certificate dated no more than 72 hours before their journey.
RT-PCR test made mandatory for flyers coming from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand from 1st January 2023. They will have to upload their reports on the Air Suvidha portal before travel: Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya pic.twitter.com/I76Tbl3pNR— ANI (@ANI) December 29, 2022
US: Starting January 5, 2023, the US will make it mandatory for everyone 2 years and above arriving from China, Macau, and Hong Kong to show a negative Covid test.
JAPAN: Arrivals from mainland China and those who travelled to the country seven days before their arrival will be tested for Covid-19 on their arrival from December 30.
Japan marks record 415 COVID-19 deaths -health ministry https://t.co/PVZA3VJfbA pic.twitter.com/8Fz01JKs7l— Reuters Asia (@ReutersAsia) December 28, 2022
TAIWAN: Those arriving from mainland China will be tested on arrival for Covid-19. The rule also applies to those arriving by boat.
MALAYSIA: The country reportedly has tracking and surveillance measures in place for passengers arriving from China.
Other major countries like the UK and Australia don't yet have any special measures for passengers from China.
China's 'let it rip' policy: As countries are stepping up measures on passengers arriving from China, Beijing has lifted all Covid policies whatsoever. Starting January 8, China will also open up its borders for cross-border travel. With the Chinese New Year falling on January 22, a lot of people are expected to be making foreign travel.
2) Summary of #CCP's current #COVID goal: “Let whoever needs to be infected infected, let whoever needs to die die. Early infections, early deaths, early peak, early resumption of production.” @jenniferzeng97— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) December 19, 2022
Dead bodies piled up in NE China in 1 night—pic.twitter.com/nx7DD2DJwN
In 2019 and early 2020, the world (very erroneously) thought that the novel coronavirus was just a little winter flu. Even as China blew up with surging infections and fudged data, countries did not put any measures in place to stop the spread of the virus to their countries.
Trade was more important and a worldwide pandemic was the story of the middle ages... until it was not.
Two years later, after seeing people dying on the roads, in ambulances, waiting for a bed in packed hospitals, and depleting supplies, the world seems to be hearing the same story repeated from the very place the virus came from - China.
Hopefully, this time the results will be different and governments around the world are expected to take more precautions. The one big difference between 2020 and now is vaccination.