Australia’s COVID testing against China went against health advice.coronavirus pandemic news


Australia’s chief medical officer has advised that the new travel rules lack “sufficient public health justification”.

Australia has introduced testing for COVID-19 for travelers from China, but the country’s top health officials are advising against the move.

In a letter sent to Health Minister Mark Butler on Saturday, Australia’s chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, said there was no public health justification for introducing new travel requirements for arrivals from China. said he was thinking.

Kelly said Australia’s high levels of vaccination and previous infections, as well as the fact that the BF.7 Omicron subvariant that is believed to be causing the cases in China, is already circulating in the country ” He said it meant there was “not enough public health evidence”. Due to new travel rules.

There was a “strong consensus” between Australian states and New Zealand health officials that restrictions on travel from China were “inconsistent with current national approaches to managing COVID-19 and disproportionate to the risks”. .

In lieu of travel restrictions, Kelly said the government should consider expanding wastewater testing, introducing voluntary sampling of international arrivals, and improving follow-up for people who test positive for COVID-19 and have recently traveled abroad. recommended.

Australian letter

Despite the advice, Butler announced the next day that travelers from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, must have a negative COVID result within 48 hours of travel.

Butler said the decision was made “with great care given the dynamic and evolving situation in China and the potential for new variants to emerge in a highly contagious environment.”

Butler said at the time that he had been “extensively briefed” by Kelly, but did not elaborate on the nature of the advice he received. He defended it as a “balanced decision.”

Kelly’s letter to Butler was published late Monday night on the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Australia’s move followed the introduction of similar measures by the United States. USA, UK, South Korea, India, Japan, Taiwan, Italy, France, Spain.

Canada announced on Saturday that it will begin testing arrivals from China beginning January 5.

Authorities have noted concerns that a surge in cases in China could lead to the emergence of new and more dangerous variants after Beijing withdrew its strict “no new coronavirus” policy.

Some health experts have criticized the testing requirements, arguing they do little to stop the spread of the new strain and risk fostering xenophobia.

China criticized the inspection rule as “unnecessary” and Chinese state media called the measure “unfounded” and “discriminatory”.

China plans to lift mandatory quarantine for arrivals from 8 January after three years of strict border controls, but all arrivals will continue to undergo COVID testing.


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