Beginning January 8, China will no longer need travelers traveling from abroad to undergo a COVID-19 quarantine, the National Health Commission stated on Monday, marking the latest weakening of the nation’s formerly stringent virus-control policies.
Arriving travelers must quarantine for five days in a hotel and then three days at home.
That is a decrease from as recently as three weeks ago.
Eliminating the quarantine requirement is a significant step toward fully restoring international travel, which the government heavily restricted to keep the virus out.
Most Chinese cannot travel overseas because of the restrictions, which have severely curtailed the number of foreigners working and studying in China.
Despite excluding visitors, China’s health authority announced that steps would be taken to ease entry for select foreigners.
It did suggest that Chinese tourists would be gradually permitted to travel overseas once more, which is good news for hotels and other tourism-related firms worldwide.
According to a health commission online post, travelers to China will still need a negative virus test 48 hours before departure, and passengers will be forced to wear protective masks while flying.
Early this month, China abruptly lifted many pandemic prohibitions, causing massive epidemics that have overrun hospital emergency rooms and cemeteries.
The action came after infrequent public demonstrations against the restrictions, which have slowed the economy, caused job losses, and forced businesses like restaurants and stores out of business.
Chinese authorities implemented a stringent zero-COVID strategy for more than two and a half years, and it became Xi Jinping’s defining policy.
The method became progressively unworkable with the emergence of the quickly spreading omicron variety in late 2021, necessitating ever-wider lockdowns that impeded growth and disrupted life.