Following in the footsteps of Italy and Spain, France has imposed restrictions on travellers from China.

Late on Friday, the government said that those flying from China must present a negative PCR or antigen test no more than 48 hours old before embarkation. From January 1 PCR tests will also be needed on landing in France, the government said in a communique.

The press statement said: “France recommended at the beginning of the week to travellers who plan to go to China, especially fragile and immunocompromised people, to consider postponing their trip, in the absence of an urgent reason”. For those who cannot postpone their trip, Paris recommends “having a complete and up-to-date vaccination schedule and respecting barrier gestures.”

Following the end of the so-called zero Covid policy, there has been an explosion in coronavirus case numbers in China. Some sources suggest that 9,000 deaths are occurring daily. Part of the reason is the relative inefficiency of Chinese-made vaccines combined with little herd immunity.

The Chinese authorities have abandoned publishing coronavirus statistics, although the earlier published figure of 4,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic is clearly false.

Whether the virus escaped from a lab or was the by-product of a trade in wild animals for human consumption, China was the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.

A China expert writing in respected French daily Le Figaro on Friday (paywall) compared the country’s inability to handle the coronavirus outbreak as a historical parallel to the Chernobyl disaster and the eventual demise of the Soviet Union.

FILE PHOTO: A China Eastern Airlines aircraft and a Shanghai Airlines aircraft are seen in Hongqiao International Airport in Shanghai, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, China June 4, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo