China banned non-national arrivals from the United Kingdom as England entered a new nationwide lockdown that is set to end on December 2.
The Asian power nation introduced the border restriction measures as a way to combat the rise in coronavirus numbers, just as England began a strict month-long lockdown on Thursday, November 5. According to The Guardian, China's borders are now closed to anyone arriving from the United Kingdom, regardless if travelers have possession of valid visas or residence permits.
The Chinese embassy in the U.K. said the decision was "a temporary measure taken by China in response to the current pandemic," which is a reversal of the looser measures that had been in place between the two nations until now. The move was propelled by the fact that England has registered a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, having also the highest death toll in Europe with almost 48,000 casualties.
However, the U.K. was not the only European country to be added to the restrictions list. China decided to bar non-Chinese travelers from Belgium, which has the highest per-capita number of COVID-19 infections in the continent.
On Thursday, the Chinese embassy in the Philippines also issued a statement that the restrictions would apply to the southeast country too. The island nation holds the highest number of cases in the region. According to the embassies' statements, the new restrictions will not affect travelers with diplomatic, official or courtesy visas, as well as the crews of international flights.
Beijing has been cracking down on the coronavirus restrictions in an attempt to contain the deadly outbreak and restore the economy, which has seen signs of recovery in the past few months. It has now introduced new rules for those who arrive in the country, including compulsory negative COVID-19 PCR and antibody tests for travelers coming from the United States, France, Germany, Denmark, Australia, Singapore, Japan and Czech Republic.
Passengers must be able to prove the tests were taken within 48 hours of traveling, with officials explaining the antibody test is meant to "guard against any false negatives in nucleic acid tests," per The Guardian's report.
Europe is experiencing yet another wave of coronavirus cases as the colder months settle in, with some countries ramping up their measures and restrictions to tackle the pandemic. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the small country of Slovakia tested half of its population in just one day in an effort to contain the spread of the disease.