Japan and South Korea no longer receive short-term visas from China in response for Covid travel restrictions on Chinese citizens.
South Korean visas have been suspended, according to Beijing, until “discriminatory” entrance barriers against China are removed.
Although not the only nations imposing entrance conditions on visitors from China, where Covid instances are on the rise, Japan and South Korea’s regulations are among the strictest.
China’s foreign ministry criticized South Korea’s decision to suspend providing tourist visas to Chinese nationals as “unacceptable” and “unscientific” last week.
At the moment, China is permitted to visit Japan so long as they do not test positive for Covid. Japan is restricting flights from China to specific Japanese cities, which is comparable to the UK and the US.
The new visa requirements for tourists entering China were verified by Beijing’s embassies in Seoul and Tokyo.
The “zero-Covid” policy was abandoned by China on Sunday, marking the first time since March 2020 that its borders had been open.
South Korea’s foreign ministry responded to China’s most recent visa restrictions by telling the BBC that their approach to people arriving from China was “in conformity with scientific and objective evidence.”
Prior to the implementation of visa restrictions, a third of all arrivals from China tested positive for Covid, according to South Korea’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency.
According to government statistics, almost everyone in China province contracted Covid.
Arrivals are greeted by military soldiers dressed in protective gear at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport, the only South Korean airport that still permits flights from China.
As they were being led to the airport testing facility, the BBC was able to talk with a few of them.
“For me personally, it’s alright. During this pandemic, I have experienced far worse “said William, a Shanghai businessman. “As a traveler, I simply attempt to abide by the rules as much as I can.”
Another traveler, though, was of a different opinion.
Emily, who had just arrived from Hong Kong, declared, “In my opinion, it’s not at all scientific.” She had to do the same tests as anyone arriving from the Chinese mainland.
“It seems a little unfair to me from this perspective. I can only imagine how unsafe they must feel.”
Although many South Koreans believe that the decision to defend their nation from China’s coronavirus outbreak is solely medical, not all of them do.
“There is a political component to it, and there isn’t a nice connection between the two nations. Many Koreans harbor strong hostility toward Chinese people and blame them for the coronavirus, “Jinsun, who was en route to Abu Dhabi, remarked.
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Another traveler to Paris on her honeymoon stated South Korea might not have enacted such regulations if the nation in question wasn’t China.
However, she added, “China would have an issue with whatever we did.
The South Korean limitations are expected to remain in place at least until the end of the month, giving researchers time to examine any potential new varieties that might be arriving from China.
“China now lacks transparency on any monitoring for novel varieties. A new variation from China would put the entire world in a very terrible predicament “According to BBC, Professor Kim Woo Joo, a government adviser and infectious diseases expert at Korea University
“Additionally, it would be a catastrophe for the healthcare system in Korea. Our older population is already under-vaccinated, and we already have a high number of hospitalizations and fatalities. We are concerned about this.”
Only a few business or diplomatic travelers from China are currently permitted entry into South Korea. Both upon arrival and prior to leave, they must test negative.
One Chinese man who had a positive test ran away from the bus that was carrying him to a hotel for quarantines close to the airport. He was apprehended by cops in a Seoul hotel two days later.