China to scrap COVID quarantine rule for inbound travelers

Content of the article

BEIJING — China will stop requiring incoming travelers to self-quarantine from Jan. 8, the National Health Commission announced Monday in a major step toward easing restrictions at its borders, which are largely closed since 2020.

China’s handling of COVID-19 will also be downgraded to less stringent Category B from the current high-level Category A, the health authority said in a statement, as the disease has become less virulent and will gradually progress to a common respiratory infection. .

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

Content of the article

Three years of zero-tolerance measures, from closed borders to frequent lockdowns, have battered China’s economy, fueling the mainland’s biggest show of public discontent last month since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.

But China made an abrupt policy U-turn this month, ditching nearly all of its national COVID curbs in a move that has left hospitals across the country scrambling to cope with a nationwide wave of infections. .

Strict requirements for incoming travelers had remained in place, including five days of mandatory quarantine in a government-supervised facility and three more of home isolation.

This restriction and one on the number of passengers on international flights will be removed from January 8. Travelers entering China will still need to undergo PCR tests 48 hours before departure, however, the health authority said.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

Arrangements for foreigners to come to China, such as for work and business, will be improved and necessary visas will also be facilitated, the authority said.

But entry and exit of passengers at sea and land ports will gradually resume, while outbound travel by Chinese nationals will be restored « in an orderly manner », he added.

Since January 2020, China has classified COVID-19 as a Category B infectious disease, but has managed it under Category A protocols that cover diseases such as bubonic plague and cholera, giving local authorities the power quarantine patients and their close contacts and lock down areas.

As China downgrades its handling of the novel coronavirus, the National Health Commission said epidemic prevention and control protocols in key institutions such as elderly care facilities will be strengthened.

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

If an outbreak becomes severe, the institution will adopt « closed management » to prevent the spread of infections, the authority said.

China will also increase the vaccination rate among the elderly and encourage second doses among those at high risk of severe disease.

China is the latest major country to move toward treating COVID as endemic. Its containment measures had slowed the economy by $17 trillion to its lowest growth rate in nearly half a century, disrupting global supply chains and trade. (Reporting by Ryan Woo, Ethan Wang, Eduardo Baptista and Brenda Goh; editing by John Stonestreet and David Evans)



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. See our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.


Back to top button