By imposing testing requirements, Australia and Canada are the latest among over a dozen countries to impose restrictions on travelers arriving from China. This comes as COVID cases continue to surge in the PRC after the easing of the "zero-COVID" policy.
The restrictions have largely been spurred by what is believed to be a vast undercounting of cases in China since the easing of COVID restrictions and the subsequent increase in infections, a charge that China denies. The World Health Organization is urging China to provide more "specific and real-time data" on COVID infections.
The evidence from the pandemic is clear: without other policies in place, travel restrictions are an utterly useless measure. Countries failed to stop the spread of variants from India and Africa with travel restrictions, and this time will be no different — a variant will already have a foothold before it is ever detected by a government. There is little evidence that a new variant is spreading in China, and their COVID situation is fueled mostly by domestic vaccine hesitancy. This is a politically motivated piece of "hygiene theater."
China has become a "black box" in the fight against COVID, with no reliable information being provided by the Chinese government. The evidence from China's sudden abandonment of zero-COVID points to a never-before-seen explosion of cases in the nation of 1.4 billion, with the government leaving citizens to fend for themselves. China has often been the bellwether for COVID conditions and trends, and the world must be prepared for new variants and infection surges.