China suspends visas for South Koreans after new Covid travel rules

Beijing, Jan 10, (dpa/GNA) – Beijing has suspended short-term visas for South Koreans starting from Tuesday, following the introduction by Seoul at the end of December, of extra travel requirements for visitors from China, state media reported.

Chinese media including state newspaper Global Times, cited the Chinese Embassy in Seoul as saying that visas for South Koreans wanting to visit the country, for reasons including business and tourism, would be suspended until “discriminatory” entry restrictions against China are lifted.

Several countries including South Korea, but also in Europe, have introduced a requirement for travellers from China to present a negative Covid-19 test, before departure, following a surge of Covid cases in the country, which recently abandoned its zero-Covid policy.

Many countries fear that new virus variants, could emerge from the world’s most populous country.

After almost three years of lockdowns, mass testing and mandatory quarantine, China abandoned its zero-Covid policy on December 7. Since then, the country has seen a rapidly rising number of infections, with the elderly and those suffering from preconditions particularly affected.

Hospitals are overcrowded, and crematoriums are struggling to keep up with the demand. According to estimates, tens of thousands of people may have died so far. Beijing has stopped publishing infection numbers.