Japan and South Korea have imposed travel restrictions on their citizens due to the dire situation of the Covid-19 in China. In response, China has stopped issuing short-term visas to citizens of the two countries.

According to the BC report, Beijing’s embassy in Seoul said that the visas of South Koreans entering China as tourists have been suspended. Besides, Japanese media reported that China is imposing similar measures on them.

Analysts say it is a tit-for-tat move that Beijing says will remain in place until the ‘discriminatory’ entry ban against China is lifted.

Last week, South Korea stopped issuing tourist visas for arrivals from China, which the Chinese Foreign Ministry called ‘unacceptable’ and ‘unscientific’. Responding to China’s latest move, South Korea’s foreign ministry told the BBC its policy on arrivals from China was adopted ‘according to scientific and objective evidence’.

Meanwhile, Japan is currently allowing Chinese travelers to enter the country. The condition is only one, the test of covid negative should be given. According to South Korea’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency, about a third of people arriving from China tested positive for the virus before visa restrictions were imposed.

Seoul’s Incheon International Airport is the only South Korean airport still allowing flights from China. Airport authorities are providing personal protective equipment to travelers through military personnel.

However, there has been a mixed response to such moves. Some are in favor of it and some are not at all satisfied with it. Many South Koreans support the idea of ​​protecting their country from China’s coronavirus wave, but not everyone is convinced that the decision is entirely scientific.

A passenger said, ‘It has a political element and relations between the two countries are not good. Many Koreans harbor a lot of hostility, blaming China for the coronavirus.’

South Korea’s sanctions are expected to last at least until the end of the month, giving scientists time to analyze possible new variants from China. Professor Kim Woo-joo, an infectious disease expert at Korea University, said, ‘At the moment there is no clarity on surveillance for new variants in China. If any new variant comes from China, it will create a very difficult situation for the whole world.’

It would also be a disaster for the Korean healthcare system, he added. Currently many of us are hospitalized and many have died. Even our elderly are under-vaccinated. We are concerned about that.’

At the moment, few Chinese businessmen or diplomats are allowed into South Korea. But they must test negative before departure and on arrival.

(January 10)