As Beijing doubles down on coronavirus restrictions, even as the official number of cases drops in places like Shanghai, the West is easing restrictions as the death rate drops there.
Furthermore China also said it will impose tight restrictions on “non-essential” overseas travel for its citizens to help contain the worst coronavirus outbreak the country has seen in the past two years.
A policy that will have significant consequences on tourism in Thailand because Chinese tourists represented an important part of the country’s tourism revenue before the pandemic. In 2019 nearly 10 million Chinese had visited Thailand, out of about 39 million tourists recorded this year.
In the first half of 2021, China issued only 335,000 passports, mainly for study abroad, business travel and employment, accounting for 2 percent of the total for the same period in 2019, the NIA said.
WHO and UN honeymoon is over
The director-general of the World Health Organization, once respected by Beijing, said China’s “zero Covid” policy was no longer sustainable. The government has not hesitated to censor his remarks.
Immigration authorities said the restrictions were designed to prevent infections from crossing the border and would include a more rigorous approval process for passports and other travel documents and a crackdown on illegal border crossings.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ statement on zero Covid policy seems to have crossed a line for Beijing. Its publication on the official WEChat account of the WHO was quickly censored. The video inserted in the publication has been deleted, “removed due to a violation of the regulations”,” according to the social network.
On Weibo, another important social network in China, the speech of the director-general of the WHO, published by the United Nations, simply disappeared. Once again, the Sino-American site China Digital Times plays the role of news hero by publishing a screenshot of the deleted publication.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, quickly responded to the WHO statement. “China is one of the best performing countries in epidemic prevention and control. This is an obvious fact for the international community,” he said.