As countries around the world scramble to impose travel bans to stem the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, China remains outwardly calm -- at least for now. Despite two confirmed cases of the heavily mutated variant in Hong Kong, Chinese public health experts have expressed a confidence in the country's existing border control measures.
China's response -- or the lack thereof -- is hardly surprising. The country's border restrictions are already among the strictest in the world, with most foreign visitors, from tourists to students, banned from entering mainland China. Those few who are allowed to enter, as well as returning Chinese citizens, must undergo at least 14 days of strict centralized quarantine. And that can be extended to up to 28 days by local authorities, often followed by another lengthy period of home observation.
Zhang Wenhong, an infectious disease expert in Shanghai and arguably China's most trusted voice on Covid-19, said the new variant would have "no major impact on China at this time."
"China's current rapid response and dynamic clearance strategy is capable of dealing with all types of new coronavirus variants," Zhang wrote in a social media post Sunday.