Travellers entering from China to Australia could soon be hit with renewed Covid restrictions amid surging virus cases in the country.
The drastic move would come after the US announced on Thursday morning it would impose mandatory Covid tests on Chinese tourists just days before China is set to re-open its borders.
Despite reports of chaos, its true extent is unknown after Chinese authorities stopped reporting daily case counts and deaths.
A spokesman for Australia’s Health Minister Mark Butler said decisions were yet to be made on the developing situation.
“The Australian government continues to monitor the global situation,” he said.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told the Today Show the country would continue to monitor the situation in China.
On Thursday morning he said: “Our travel advice hasn’t changed at this point in time but we’ll continue to monitor the situation as we do right around the world and update our advice when it’s appropriate.
“We take the health advice on this, at the moment the health advice has not changed.”
Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and India have also brought in protective measures before China will let people enter more easily from January 8.
The date would see the end of quarantine for travellers entering China and citizens of the country could once again apply for passports.
However, those travelling to the US from China, Hong Kong and Macau would need a negative Covid test from January 5 in a bid to “slow the spread” of the virus.
“There are mounting concerns in the international community on the ongoing Covid-19 surges in China and the lack of transparent data, including viral genomic sequence data, being reported from the People’s Republic of China,” US officials said.
“Without this data, it is becoming increasingly difficult for public health officials to ensure that they will be able to identify any potential new variants and take prompt measures to reduce the spread.”
Covid testing measures were scrapped for travellers entering Australia in early 2022 and are now only used in high risk medical or aged care environments.