Italy chooses not to step back. Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani defended the policy of testing all arrivals from China for Covid-19, calling it “normal measures” after Beijing said the policy “lacks scientific basis”.
- “A lot of Chinese people do it but also a lot of Italians from China”, Minister Tajani told Italian state broadcaster Rai. “Having a test is a way to protect people’s health. There is nothing offensive about it”, he added. “We have the right to protect Italian citizens and to avoid another pandemic”.
The background. On Tuesday, Beijing referred to the growing international restrictions on travellers from its territory as “unacceptable”. More than a dozen countries imposed new Covid bans on passengers from the People’s Republic.
“Some countries have taken entry restrictions targeting only Chinese travellers,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning at a briefing. “This lacks scientific basis and some practices are unacceptable”. She said Beijing may “take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity”.
- Italy became the first Western country to impose mandatory Covid testing for inbound passengers.
The propaganda machine. As reported by Decode39, the issue has become an opportunity for Beijing’s propaganda. The Chinese government needs to show that it has the situation under control and uses the excuse of racism.
- China’s steep rise in infections comes after Beijing abruptly lifted years of hardline restrictions last month, with hospitals and crematoriums quickly overwhelmed.
- Since December, China has only reported 22 Covid deaths, and the criteria for identifying such deaths have been drastically reduced. As a result, Beijing’s data regarding the unprecedented surge are now widely believed to be inaccurate.