China reopens borders and lifts quarantine requirement for inbound travellers

China lifted quarantine requirements for inbound travellers on Sunday, ending almost three years of self-imposed isolation even as the country battles a surge in Covid cases.

The first people to arrive expressed relief at not having to undergo the gruelling quarantines that were a fixture of life in zero-Covid China.

And in Hong Kong, where the border with mainland China was re-opened after years of closure, more than 400,000 people were set to travel north in the coming eight weeks.

Beijing last month began a dramatic dismantling of a hardline zero-Covid strategy that had enforced mandatory quarantines and punishing lockdowns.

The policy had a huge impact on the world's second-biggest economy and generated resentment throughout society that led to nationwide protests just before it was eased.

At Shanghai's Pudong International Airport, a woman surnamed Pang told AFP Sunday she was thrilled with the ease of travel.

"I think it's really good that the policy has changed now, it's really humane," she told AFP.

"It's a necessary step I think. Covid has become normalised now and after this hurdle everything will be smooth," she said.

Chinese people rushed to plan trips abroad after officials last month announced that quarantine would be dropped, sending inquiries on popular travel websites soaring.

One woman, there to greet a friend arriving from Hong Kong, said the first thing they'd do was grab a meal.


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