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China lifts entry restrictions: is the new Omikron variant coming to us now?

2022-12-28T07:38:56.045Z


China lifts entry restrictions: is the new Omikron variant coming to us now? Created: 12/28/2022, 8:31 am By: Sven Hauberg No more quarantine on entry: China is further relaxing its corona rules. Is a new virus variant coming to Germany? Experts give the all-clear. Munich/Beijing – China is opening its borders: On Monday evening, the National Health Commission in Beijing announced that there w


China lifts entry restrictions: is the new Omikron variant coming to us now?

Created: 12/28/2022, 8:31 am

By: Sven Hauberg

No more quarantine on entry: China is further relaxing its corona rules.

Is a new virus variant coming to Germany?

Experts give the all-clear.

Munich/Beijing – China is opening its borders: On Monday evening, the National Health Commission in Beijing announced that there would no longer be a quarantine obligation when entering the People’s Republic from January 8th.

Travelers then only have to present a negative corona test that is no more than 48 hours old, further tests after arrival are no longer necessary.

Previously, people entering China had to isolate themselves in a hotel room for at least five days.

At times, an entry quarantine of 21 days was even required.

The announced easing has apparently already led to a rush to book flights.

Online searches for flights abroad soared, Chinese state media reported on Tuesday.

The Tongcheng

travel platform, for example, saw

an 850 percent increase in searches for air travel and ten times as many searches for visa regulations.

Air travel between China and the rest of the world is currently severely restricted.

At the request of our editorial team, a Lufthansa spokeswoman said that no additional flights between Germany and China were planned for the time being.

Cabin crew in protective gear greet travelers en route to China aboard a flight from New York's JFK Airport and check their temperature.

© Emily Wang Fujiyama/dpa

In view of the exploding number of infections in China, the foreign policy spokesman for the Union faction, Jürgen Hardt (CDU), called for all flight connections between Germany and the People's Republic to be stopped on Friday.

The situation in China threatens "the whole world with a new wave of infections," he told the

editorial network Germany

.

The Federal Ministry of Transport had rejected the initiative.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government has announced that it will require a negative corona test when entering China from Friday.

His government is reacting to information “that the infection is spreading quickly in China” with the obligation to test, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told journalists on Tuesday.

Corona in China: Virus variant BF.7 is spreading rapidly

In China, virus variant BF.7, one of several subvariants of omicron BA.5, is currently predominant.

According to current knowledge, BF.7 is no more contagious or more dangerous than BA.5.

The fact that the sub-variant is currently spreading so rapidly in China is probably due to the country's population structure and the fact that herd immunity was not able to spread due to the zero-Covid policy.

In addition, many Chinese have had their last vaccination for a long time.

Experts assume that the population in Germany is well protected against BA.7, as this is very similar to the BA.5 variant that is prevalent here and immunity has therefore already been able to build up in this country through vaccination or infection.

It is unclear whether a new virus variant could arise in China due to the high number of infections.

“The virus can always develop particularly well when there are many infections.

And that could soon be the case in China, ”said Drosten at the end of November – i.e. before the end of the zero Covid policy – ​​in an interview with Die

Zeit

.

Because the immunity of the population in China is not high, one “cannot rule out that another leap will happen there in terms of evolution”.

However, he does not expect such a development in the near future, said Drosten.

"And it may just as well be that nothing happens at all at first."

Virologist Hendrik Streeck also advises calm.

"You shouldn't worry now.

There is no new virus," Streeck recently told

IPPEN.MEDIA's Munich Merkur

.

"It's not all starting from scratch, and it's manageable in which direction the virus is likely to go."

Already 250 million corona infected people in China?

The easing of entry regulations is another step towards normality for China.

The country surprisingly abandoned its zero-Covid policy at the beginning of December, which provided for three years of strict lockdowns, mass tests and forced quarantine to combat the pandemic.

After nationwide protests against the corona policy at the end of November, the government of head of state and party leader Xi Jinping made a U-turn and abolished all protective measures;

Since then, the omicron variant of the corona virus has been spreading unhindered throughout the country, and the number of infections is through the roof.

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According to internal, unofficial estimates by the National Health Commission, around 248 million Chinese were infected with Covid-19 in the first three weeks of December alone.

There are no official figures, especially since the authorities stopped publishing daily data at the weekend.

It is also unclear how many deaths there have been since the current corona wave broke out.

Officially, China's health commission had only reported seven deaths by mid-December and shortly afterwards declared that only deaths from pneumonia and respiratory failure in patients infected with Covid-19 were also classified as Covid deaths.

Analysts believe there could be hundreds of thousands of deaths in China in the coming months.

(sh with AFP and dpa)

Source: merkur

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