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The countries restricting travel from China, Hong Kong

China and Hong Kong are opening up but other countries are restricting entry.

Hong Kong has become caught up in China’s Covid tailwinds as increasing numbers of countries press for tests from travellers from the city.

Early this month, places including the United States, United Kingdom and France introduced new travel restrictions as China geared up to scrap its border restrictions from today (January 8) after three years of border closures.

There is concern amongst governments around the world that given the numbers of Chinese people suddenly exposed to Covid, a more infectious mutation may occur. Added to this, China has published very little data about its surge in cases. According to China’s foreign ministry, the epidemic situation is “under control” but analysts say Covid numbers are being vastly undercounted. It’s feared there could be as many as a million new cases a day, a dramatic difference to the officially reported 5,000 cases.

China has rejected the criticism and added that it expects future mutations to be potentially more transmissible but less severe.

Despite this, testing restrictions for travellers from China have been introduced throughout the world, with a number of places including Hong Kong and Macau included in the new regulations.


Australia now requires travellers from China, including Macau and Hong Kong, to present a negative departure PCR or RAT test taken within 48 hours of travel.


In the United Kingdom, Chinese arrivals are now required to present a negative test taken within 48 hours of travel, however the regulation does not apply to travellers from Hong Kong and Macau.


All travellers from China, including Macau and Hong Kong, must test using a RAT or a PCR test within 48 hours of departure.


Chile is calling for all arrivals from China to have a PCR test within 48 hours of travel. It was unspecified whether the ruling included Hong Kong and Macau.

European Union

The European Unions says it is strongly encouraging members to adopt pre-departure testing on China flights.


France also requires China arrivals, including Macau and Hong Kong, to present a negative RAT or PCR test taken within 48 hours of travel. Random PCR tests are also being carried out on arrival.


India was one of the first countries to impose restrictions. Travellers from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand must all have negative PCR departure tests taken within 72 hours. Positive cases or those showing Covid symptoms will be quarantined.


Italy is calling for departure tests and will also be testing travellers from China on arrival. Virus sequencing has been ordered for swabs. If the departure test is a RAT, it must be taken within 48 hours of travel, or 72 hours for a PCR test. This includes travellers from Hong Kong and Macau.


Japan initially went so far as to close all but four of its airports to direct flights from China and Hong Kong. The restrictions have loosened for Hong Kong flights following interventions from the Hong Kong government and direct services from the SAR can now land at all airports. However, all arrivals from China (not including Hong Kong and Macau) must have a negative test taken within 72 hours of departure. They, along with any travellers who have visited China within the previous seven days, will be tested on arrival and positive cases will be required to quarantine for seven days. Mainland China flights are restricted to Narita, Haneda, Kansai and Chubu airports. The Japanese government is limiting requests from airlines to increase flights to China, including Hong Kong.


The north African country has banned people arriving directly from mainland China, regardless of nationality.


Arrivals from China will need a negative departure test taken within 48 hours of departure. Direct flights from mainland only are affected.


Arrivals from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, must have a negative PCR departure test taken within 48 hours of travel.

South Korea

All travellers from China must have a negative departure test.


Spain is asking for a negative test or proof of full vaccination on arrival for all travellers from China, not including Hong Kong and Macau.


Passengers on direct flights from mainland China must take a PCR test on arrival. The new rule kicked in on January 1 but does not apply to Hong Kong and Macau.


All travellers to Thailand will require proof of two vaccinations or recovery from the virus from July if they are aged 18 years and over from today. Thai passport holders are exempt.

United States

The United States imposed restrictions from last week. Arrivals aged two and over must have a negative test result taken within 48 hours of departure (RAT or PCR are acceptable), including those coming from Hong Kong and Macau.

Read more about China's travel restrictions

The British government is nervous about Covid mutations entering the country.

Arrivals from Greater China need a negative departure test.

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