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The United States Department of State is warning U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to parts of the People’s Republic of China and to Hong Kong, citing a bevy of potential risk factors.
“Reconsider travel to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions,” the State Dept. said in a travel advisory. “Do not travel to the PRC’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Jilin province, and Shanghai municipality due to COVID-19-related restrictions, including the risk of parents and children being separated. Reconsider travel to the PRC’s Hong Kong SAR due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 1 Travel Health Notice for the PRC but a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Hong Kong, due to COVID-19. The State Dept. stressed that the zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 by the PRC and Hong Kong governments severely impacts travel and access to public services. All travelers should prepare to quarantine at a government-designated location for a minimum of 14 days upon arrival. While in quarantine, health authorities will test travelers as often as daily for COVID-19 and will not permit travelers to leave their rooms. Travelers who test positive during this quarantine time will be transferred to a government-designated medical facility, running the risk of splitting families.
In some cases, children in Hong Kong who test positive have been separated from their parents and kept in isolation until they meet local hospital discharge requirements.
“The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including carrying out arbitrary and wrongful detentions and using exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without due process of law,” the State Dept. wrote. “…In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law.”