The USA warned its citizens traveling to China


The USA warned its citizens traveling to China of the risk of family separation and severe restrictions on Covid-19.

The United States has warned Americans to consider traveling to China that they may be subject to local law enforcement and "arbitrary" Covid-19 restrictions.

"Do not travel to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China [People's Republic of China], Jilin Province, and Shanghai Municipality due to restrictions related to Covid-19, including the risk of parental and child separation," a travel alert issued by the US State Department on Friday.

"Reconsider travel to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China due to arbitrary application of local laws."

China's zero-tolerance approach would severely harm travel and access to public services. At the same time, all travelers should prepare to be quarantined at a government-designated location for at least 14 days upon arrival.

The US CDC also issued a Health Notice for Level 1 Travel to China, which means being alert for disease outbreaks or crises that disrupt the country's medical infrastructure.

The third-highest of the four-tier system, the travel alert came as the highly contagious Omicron spread to most parts of China, including major cities with large expatriate communities such as Shanghai and Beijing.

While many Western countries, treating Omicron as a more potent form of influenza, have chosen to live with the virus, Beijing insists on emotional clearing at any cost.

Shanghai, at the center of the current epidemic storm, has been under virtual lockdown for more than a week. On Saturday, the city reported 22,609 new asymptomatic cases and 1,015 asymptomatic cases in a recent daily rise.

This sparked complaints of food shortages and videos of disgruntled residents arguing with officials went viral.

The United States has allowed non-essential government employees and their family members to leave Shanghai during the outbreak.

A spokesperson for the embassy in Beijing confirmed that the consular section in Shanghai is closed to the public due to local control measures over Covid-19 and that it will reopen as soon as permitted.

"Ambassador [Nicholas] Burns and other administration and mission officials have raised our concerns about the outbreak and PRC control measures directly with PRC officials, and we have informed them of the voluntary departure decision."

The US warning will likely have a little material impact on travel to China because the country's borders have been largely closed since 2020 with limited daily flights.

However, it may damage Beijing's pursuit of more foreign trade and investment.

US and European diplomats have expressed concerns about measures such as mass testing, transportation disruptions, lockdowns, and the potential for families to be separated.

In an open letter earlier this week, the French consulate in Shanghai said that under no circumstances should parents and children be separated.

"There is a strong sense of uncertainty across the city, fueled by a lack of supplies, endless lockdowns, and a huge fear of being sent to a central quarantine camp," said Bettina Schoen-Bhanzen, Vice President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China. , He said.

"The current shutdown and its logistical nightmares are the final nails in the coffin of Shanghai's appeal to the rest of the world."

China recorded 4.53 million arrivals and exits last year, down 65.9 percent yearly. It was only 4.6 percent of the 2019 level.

In November, President Xi Jinping promised his US counterpart, Joe Biden, to open fast-track channels to facilitate the entry of foreign business people.

Shanghai, which accommodates the Tesla plant and the General Motors China joint venture, saw $22.6 billion in investment last year, about 13 percent of the national total.

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