China has announced it is dropping its quarantine policies for international travellers from January 8, 2023. This move is part of the nation’s step toward reopening its borders to the rest of the world.
How it All Started
China shut its borders down from the rest of the world in March 2020, in the wake of the novel Covid 19 pandemic, to prevent the spread of the virus. It has kept itself in global isolation even after the rest lifted travel bans and moved on from the pandemic.
Earlier this month, the Chinese National Health Commission released a new set of 10 measures, abolishing its zero-COVID strategy and removing requirements such as compulsory testing, mandatory centralized quarantine, and total lockdowns.
What does this mean for inbound travellers?
From January 8 2023, inbound travellers will no longer be subject to five days of hotel quarantine and three days of self-isolation at home; they will only be required to present a negative Covid test result which must be obtained up to 48 hours before departure.
If the health declaration is standard, and the customs port routine quarantine check is standard, international travellers won’t need further testing before being allowed into the community. Thus, all nucleic acid tests and centralized quarantine for all international travellers are cancelled.
Water and land ports transportation will gradually resume.
Foreigners returning to China for work, business, study, family visits, and reunions will be well-planned, and the authorities will provide visa facilities accordingly.
Measures to control the number of international passenger flights, including the “five-one” policy, which required foreign airlines to maintain only one air route to China and operate no more than one flight a week and the passenger load factor limit, will be lifted. However, in the meantime, airlines will still need to take precautionary measures onboard by seeing that passengers wear masks onboard.
It also means that the country will resume outbound tourism orderly.
People across China have welcomed this long-awaited relaxation on international travel. There were many jubilations and celebrations across social media platforms in the country.
A Chinese journalist wrote on the microblogging site Weibo, “These three years have changed us forever.”
“How many people who used to straddle the borders, from overseas students to workers making a living in Africa, had to change their life plans? How many families had been separated and barred from seeing their loved ones for one last time? How many three years do we have in our lives?”
In the wake of the announcement on Monday, airlines are already warming up to step up their games in the country.
Etihad Airways, for instance, is set to double its flights to Shanghai starting in February 2023. The Middle Eastern flyer will now take advantage of opening the Chinese borders to two weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Shanghai next year.
What do you think of this news? Will you travel to China soon? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments.