Japan and S.Korea respond to China’s Visa Ban

The boom in Covid-19 cases in China led to japan and South Korea raising restrictions on travelers from China on Wednesday. China in apparent response to the move stopped issuing new visas in both countries. There is still uncertainty as to will China expand on the Visa suspensions to the other countries who have imposed restrictions on Chinese travelers.

“Significantly regrettable” was what South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin responded with to China’s retaliation. EH also called China to follow “scientific and objective facts” in its attempt to tackle pandemic. South Korea’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported that about 17 percent of the 2,550 short term travelers from China in the timespan from January 2 to 10 have tested positive.

Park said, “The most important reason for our government’s measure is the lives and safety of our people,”. Denying businesses people from South Korea or Japan might impede trade and prospective new investments. “We will monitor the COVID-19 situation in China before determining how long we will maintain our measures”, he further added.   

Tokyo protested and demanded China to scrap the measures and that Japan will “respond appropriately while closely watching China’s infection situation and how information disclosures are handled by the Chinese side,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said. He further added that it is China’s spreading infections and lack of transparency about the situation that forced Japan to take precautionary measures.

Senior Disease Control and Prevention Agency official Lim Sook-young stated at a briefing that due to China’s deteriorating COVID-19 situation and a lack of knowledge, South Korea may need to increase restrictions. “Just because we haven’t seen the emergence of a new variant doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t see one later,” she said.

Lack of transparency is just not the concern for these two countries but World Health Organization and several other nations too have accused China of withholding data on its outbreak.

China U-turn from its “zero-Covid” policy raises big question for the Xi way of managing the pandemic. It is facing a surge in cases and hospitalizations in many of its metropolitan cities. The images leaking out from the heavily censored Chinese social media show dreary situation in its hospitals and crematoriums. Authorities predict that domestic train and air travel will double over the same time period as last year, despite the fact that foreign flights are still being restricted. 

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