A shopping mall in Beijing, China, January 2, 2023. /CFP

As China's optimized COVID-19 strategy takes effect, experts think the science-based change will bring new hope for global economic recovery, while some of them doubt the necessity of certain countries' requirement of a negative COVID-19 test result for travelers coming from China.

With the mutation of the virus, the popularization of vaccination, and the accumulation of experience in prevention and control, China has announced that it will downgrade management of the disease from Class A to Class B and cancel COVID-19 tests for international travelers starting from January 8.

As China is the major growth engine for economic development of the Asia-Pacific and the wider world, its optimized COVID-19 strategy has injected fresh impetus into the global economic recovery, said Wirun Phichaiwongphakdee, director of the Thailand-China Research Center of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a global disaster for human society, Wirun said that the Chinese government has constantly optimized its COVID-19 response measures based on the evolvement of the pandemic and the deepening study on the virus.

Wirun added that China has played an indispensable role in the global fight against the pandemic and recovery of the world economy.

The resumption of work and production in China has played a vital role in providing other countries with critical supplies in fighting COVID-19 and their subsequent efforts to achieve economic recovery.

Praising China's optimized strategy, a Swiss health expert said China's experience in COVID-19 prevention and control offers important lessons for many countries.

Noting the strict and effective measures China has taken to tackle the pandemic when it hit central China's Wuhan City, Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute of Global Health at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Geneva, said that those measures help avoid the virus spread all over the world's most populated country.

Flahault pointed out the priority for the transitional period is to "vaccinate the vulnerable segments of the population."

There are also experts doubting the necessity of certain countries' requirement of a proof of a negative COVID-19 test for travelers coming from China.

In an interview with CGTN, Chheang Vannarith, President of Asian Vision Institute, said that Southeast Asian countries welcome Chinese tourists and have political trust in China.

Southeast Asian experience showed that travel restrictions do not work because the virus is already within the country. It's unfair to restrict travellers from China. We need to make decisions based on facts and science, said Chheang Vannarith.

A Danish expert said the requirement is illogical. "It's difficult to see what relevance (this requirement) would have," Christian Wejse, senior physician and professor of global medicine at Aarhus University told Danish news agency Ritzau.

Noting the number of coronavirus cases is already high in Denmark, mostly with the Omicron variant, Wejse said he is not sure what benefit the requirement would bring, adding that "the effect of such a testing requirement is minimal."

An opinion piece published on New York Times pointed out that The United States' COVID-19 test requirement for Chinese travelers is a farce.

"We know a lot more about COVID-19 than we did three years ago, and there is so much that can be done to actually protect Americans from new strains," according to the article titled "America's COVID Test Requirement for Chinese Travelers Is a Farce."

The opinion cited Dr Lucky Tran of Columbia University's Irving Medical Center as saying that "If the U.S. is really worried about variants and the spread of COVID-19 through travel, it should require negative tests for all travelers, no matter where they come from, and reinstate the mask mandate for public transportation." 

(With input from agencies)

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