China Easing COVID-19 Travel Restrictions


China Easing COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Passenger at airport in Beijing, China. (photo via 06photo / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

For nearly three years, China has enforced some of the strictest COVID-19 pandemic-era measures upon its people and its tourism industry, but signs are showing that these are beginning to end, with the National Health Commission of China announcing inbound travelers to China will no longer need to quarantine beginning January 8, 2023.

According to Reuters, the announcement comes amid concern for the country’s economy and the large amount of discontent from its people over its strict zero-COVID policy. Immediately following the announcement, interest in traveling internationally among the Chinese skyrocketed, as these rules will not only help international travel to China, but Chinese nationals reentering the country from abroad.

China will resume processing passport applications for Chinese nationals and resume visa-free transit up to 14 hours for travelers. Extensions and renewals of foreigners’ visas will also restart.

The country’s COVID rules will also lower in degree beginning January 8, the government no longer able to quarantine patients and close contacts or impose lockdowns.

Though the country has a long road to a return to normal, even in its travel industry: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was the first to announce Chinese nationals would be required to test negative prior to entering Japan, and that the country would also limit the number of flights between the two countries due to China’s high COVID-19 case count.

“International travel…will likely surge, yet it may take many more months before volumes return to the pre-pandemic level,” Dan Wang, chief economist at Hang Seng Bank China, told Reuters.

Currently, the U.S. State Department advises Americans to reconsider travel to China due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, arbitrary enforcement of local laws, and COVID-19-related restrictions.

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