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China Eases Travel Rules as COVID Restrictions Lift

Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
Thursday, December 29, 2022

China plans to roll back some of its stringent COVID-19 restrictions, including allowing more people to travel abroad.

The country has restricted passports during the pandemic, allowing only for family emergencies or some business trips, but the government announced on Tuesday that it will start applying for tourist passports on January 8. Associated Press report.

The China National Immigration Service also accepts applications for visa extension, renewal, or reissuance. APs The agency said it did not say when it would accept applications for new visas.

Following the news, travel agencies said they saw a spike in website searches for visa information and bookings of international airline tickets to destinations including the United States. Other popular sites were Japan, Thailand, South Korea, UK and Australia.

This could also lead to further spread of the coronavirus as China is currently experiencing a surge in COVID-19. APs report.

Reports from cities suggest that the ongoing COVID wave in China has infected tens and possibly hundreds of millions of people. APs It has been reported and could kill between 1 and 2 million people in the country by late 2023.

Some countries, including Japan and India, have begun requiring travelers from China to undergo COVID testing for the virus.

South Korea tests travelers for high body temperature. APs A week of home or hotel quarantine is required for those who have been reported and tested positive. The country is likely to build on these measures with an announcement expected on Friday.

Taiwan will start testing visitors from China on January 1st.

The U.S. may begin similar measures, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity. APs report.

President Xi Jinping’s government has removed or relaxed some of its strict virus measures to deal with the economic downturn.

Some business groups have warned that foreign investment is starting to leave China. APs report.

The Chinese government has stopped reporting the number of COVID cases nationwide and removed it from the list of diseases requiring quarantine. Authorities also plan to stop tracing close contacts.

The country also plans to “gradually reopen” to foreign tourists, though it is not clear when that will be. It may not be until the middle of next year. APs report.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the new changes “create better conditions for orderly cross-border travel” and “bring more benefits to the development of the global economy”. Said it was expected.

China also plans to stop requiring foreign travelers to quarantine from Jan. 8, another measure that could help businesses.

sauce: Associated Press

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