13 Going on 14 — GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27
Below from Sender A:
State is forcing teenage EFMs 14 and up to forcibly quarantine separately from their families in China. Imagine PCS’ing to a new post and being told the 14 year old child had to quarantine for two weeks alone in a hotel room separated from their parents. How did L sign off on this? This is a legal nightmare waiting to unfold. What 14 year old should be locked alone in a room for two weeks and have all their food brought to them…. no food delivery allowed. What if the child struggles from 14 days of isolation?
- EFMs (Eligible Family Members) — an individual related to a US Government employee, listed on the travel orders of a direct-hire Foreign, Civil, or uniformed service member assigned to or stationed abroad with a USG agency that is under COM authority
- PCS – Permanent Change of Station
- L – Office of Legal Adviser, currently with an Acting Legal Adviser
We’ve learned previously from a separate source that the Department is requiring employees to fulfill local quarantine rules on arrival in a country, as they apply to diplomats. That’s expected. It would not want the perception of skirting local rules amidst a global pandemic. Back in March, when Mainland China news alleged that the US staffers claimed diplomatic immunity to avoid quarantine in Hong Kong, the State Department pushed back and called it “absolutely false.”
A former ambassador pointed out that Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations states that “Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State.” The former official noted that under the normal course of events, an undertaking to quarantine within the embassy premises would normally be agreeable to the local authorities.
We understand that some countries have even waived them for diplomats or allowed diplomats to do it at their embassy quarters. We’re talking about quarantine at entry as opposed to an isolation required due to illness. But not China. One source called its entry requirements, the “most onerous.” The quarantine is reportedly for all “regardless of test status.” We were informed that this involves “something like 14 days in a hotel in the arrival city and then a stay at home for another 7 days in your destination city, with multiple tests along the way.”
The EAP bureau and Mission China were supposedly communicating to FS people relocating to China what the requirements are and what they should expect. The rules are “rigid and exacting” we were told. We understand that a particularly egregious requirement is that couples have to quarantine separately. We were, however, told that the United States had supposedly “received earlier assurances” from the Chinese that in situation where kids are involved, at least one parent would be able to stay with the children.
So, if teens are now being quarantined alone, and separate from the parent/parents — what happened?
- 1) Is this a case of arbitrary enforcement of local laws?
- 2) If they’re separating 14 year olds from their parents for the quarantine, why is 14 the magic number?
- 3) So the host country just now decided not to follow through with its prior assurances, why?
- 4) Was this so unexpected EAP and Mission China did not get a chance to forewarn incoming FS families?
- 5) Did State/L sign off on this? If yes, why?If not, what is it going to do about it – just let families bear it?
- 6) USG and China must have exchanged Diplomatic Notes, what’s in it?
Excerpt from US Mission China’s COVID-19 Information updated on April 20, 2021:
All travelers, including U.S. citizens who enter China, are screened upon arrival and subject to a minimum 14-day quarantine. While restrictions around domestic travel within China have eased, local quarantine requirements can vary significantly between cities, and regulations can change very quickly. All international arrivals should be prepared to complete quarantine at a government-selected facility or hotel at their own expense, with no control over the amenities, even if they maintain a residence in China. Cities and provinces within China may also require quarantine for domestic travelers, regardless of nationality.
The US Consulate General in Hong Kong has an update dated May 10:
Starting May 12, 2012, fully vaccinated individuals will be able to reduce their quarantine by 7 days. Fully vaccinated travelers from the United States will complete 14 days in a designated quarantine hotel and then self-monitor the remaining 7 days. For full information about reduced quarantine, please see the Hong Kong government’s press release.
When we previously blogged about quarantine, the former ambassador also pointed out that our relations with the Chinese “have involved scapegoating them for their failure instantly to recognize and act to control the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, coupled with all sorts of conspiracy theories and uncouth accusations by our former secretary of state and others. So, it would not be surprising that they would not cut us much slack.”
What else is going on between US and China the last couple of months?
On April 8, 2021, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to the Entity List for conducting activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.
On May 10, the SFRC approved S. 1169 Strategic Competition Act of 2021 signaling bipartisan support in “laying out a strategic approach towards Beijing – and assuring that the United States is positioned to compete with China across all dimensions of national and international power for decades to come”.
- US Consulate General Hong Kong Staffers and Kids in HK Quarantine Center March 2021
- @StateDept’s Vaccination Efforts For Overseas Posts Under Fire, a Test for @SecBlinken Feb 2021
- U.S. Mission China Bids Farewell to U.S. Consulate General Chengdu July 2020
- China Orders US Consulate Chengdu Closed in Response to Chinese Consulate Houston Closure July 2020
- @StateDept Evacuation Flights From China Heads to Military Bases in CA, CO, TX For 14-Day Quarantine Feb 2020
- U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau on ‘Voluntary Departure’ Over Covid19 Outbreak Feb 2020