Australia to require negative COVID tests for travellers from China

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SYDNEY, Jan 1 (Reuters) – Australia said on Sunday that travellers from China will have to provide negative COVID-19 test results from Jan. 5, joining a growing number of nations that have implemented similar restrictions as cases surge in China.

Citing a lack of epidemiological information and genomic sequencing data from China, Australian health minister Mark Butler said the government has decided out of an abundance of caution to require visitors to present a negative test taken within 48 hours of their departure.

The requirement will also apply to visitors from Hong Kong and Macau. 

The government is also considering additional measures including testing wastewater from airplanes and voluntary sampling at airports for arrivals, Butler told a news conference.

“I want to stress that the government welcomes the resumption of travel between Australia and China… I also want to stress that this is a temporary measure, reflecting the lack of comprehensive information right now about the situation in China,” said Butler. 

The World Health Organization on Friday once again urged China’s health officials to regularly share specific and real-time information on the COVID-19 situation in the country, as it continues to assess the latest surge in infections. 

(Reporting by Stella Qiu; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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