The U.S. State Department on Friday urged Americans to reconsider travel to China over “arbitrary enforcement of local laws and restrictions related to Covid-19.”
“Do not travel” to Shanghai, Hong Kong and Jilin Province and “due to restrictions related to Covid-19, including the risk of separating parents and children,” reads a travel advisory on the U.S. Consulate’s website in Shanghai. (Click here for advice.)
The country reported a total of 25,165 new infections on Friday, including symptomatic and asymptotic cases, Reuters said. Criticism of food shortages and protracted lockdowns linked to the country’s “zero Covid” policy has flooded the country’s social media. Three health officials from the Shanghai municipal government have been fired so far, the AP reported on Friday.
China says it is necessary to stick with the current approach as the health system is threatened by wider spread. “With a population of more than 1.4 billion, including many elderly, China’s medical system would risk collapse and unbearable consequences if containment measures were not strictly implemented,” the Xinhua News Agency said in a report today.
But the economic fallout is growing inside China itself, where supply chains, investment and staffing are being impacted, according to a survey conducted in the country in late March by two American chamber groups. (See here for details.) The fallout from the Covid outbreaks is also likely to put downward pressure on Chinese investments in the U.S. this year, Reva Goujon, a senior manager at Rhodium Group, which is headquartered in New York, said in an interview on Thursday. “Investors can’t travel as much as they used to (still) be able to research their investments and close deals,” she said. (See here for details.)
US companies with offices in Shanghai include Tesla, GM, Hormel and Microsoft. Mainland Chinese companies with US investments include BYD, Fosun International, Fuyao Glass, Haier Group and Tencent in particular.
On Friday, the State Department allowed the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members of non-emergency U.S. government employees from the consular district of the Consulate General in Shanghai due to a surge in Covid cases and the impact of restrictions in the country related to the response of China, officially known as the People’s Republic of China.
“The zero-tolerance approach taken by the PRC and Hong Kong governments towards Covid-19 is having a major impact on travel and access to public services. All travelers should prepare for a quarantine at a government designated location for at least 14 days upon arrival. During the quarantine, health authorities are testing travelers daily for Covid-19 and are not allowing travelers to leave their rooms. Travelers who test positive during this quarantine period will be transferred to a government-designated medical facility,” the U.S. State Department said.
“Standards of care, housing, testing and treatment may vary significantly from standards in the United States. Even after the completion of the quarantine on arrival, travelers to the PRC and Hong Kong may face additional quarantines and mandatory testing, as well as restrictions on movement and access, including access to medical services and public transport. In some cases, children in Hong Kong who have tested positive have been kept separated from their parents and kept in isolation until they meet local hospital discharge requirements,” the announcement said.
Travelers within the PRC and Hong Kong may be subject to mandatory testing. In areas with confirmed Covid-19 cases, restrictions may include confinement to the home or transfer to a government-designated quarantine facility or hospital, it said.
The U.S. Consulate in Shanghai serves an area that includes the nearby provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Anhui, or “Eastern China.” It issues the third largest number of nonimmigrant visas in the world, supporting 40,000 US citizens and nearly 1.5 million US citizens visiting East China each year.
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