China to end quarantine for international travelers

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A passenger plane sits on the tarmac at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport before China lifts Covid-related travel restrictions on November 4, 2022.

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BEIJING — China announced late Monday that starting Jan. 8, travelers will no longer have to quarantine when they arrive on the mainland.

The next shift follows the sudden easing of domestic Covid controls this month. The change ends most of the most restrictive measures China has imposed under her zero-coronavirus policy for nearly three years.

From March 2020, mainland travelers will generally be required to quarantine in designated hotels for 14 days. This quarantine period then began to extend to 21 days or more for some travelers before China began shortening the quarantine period this summer.

Current policy calls for 5 days of isolation in a centralized facility followed by 3 days at home.

China’s National Health Commission also said that from January 8, authorities will stop tracing close contacts of Covid patients, stop designating Covid-risk areas, and cancel Covid measures that were slowing the importation of goods. said.

The commission said travelers to China will only need to show that they have tested negative for the virus within the last 48 hours, eliminating the need to apply for a clear health code. The announcement said it would have to.

China’s economy has slowed this year amid tough Covid restrictions that have locked down Shanghai and other parts of the country for about two months. Meanwhile, local Covid infections surged, putting pressure on an already expanding public health system.

need more flights

Inbound quarantine requirements and other Covid-related measures are making it difficult for foreign companies in China to bring in staff, executives and factory technicians.

“Just because borders open doesn’t mean that travel will pick up anytime soon,” Michael Hart, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said last week.

He pointed out that the number of available flights to and from China must recover. It’s because it’s flying a different route,” Hart said. “Maybe it’s different for Chinese airlines, because they’re sitting on the runway doing nothing.”

Read more about China on CNBC Pro

In 2019, China announced 670 million international trips, both domestic and international. By 2021, that number will plummet to 128 million, according to the National Immigration Service.

China said on Monday it would improve visa arrangements for foreigners to enter the country to resume work, business, study, visit relatives and other gatherings.

According to CNBC’s translation, Chinese citizens’ overseas travel will “restart in an orderly manner.”

During the pandemic, Beijing prevented Chinese citizens from obtaining passports or leaving the country unless there was a clear, usually business purpose.

In the past, Chinese tourists and their spending abroad, especially on luxury goods, were an important source of income for many international destination businesses.

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