China travel to resume as Beijing drops Covid restrictions


China has ended quarantine for travellers arriving from overseas and dropped limits on international flights as the country abandons the "zero-Covid" policy that kept its borders closed for most of the past three years.

From Sunday, 8 January, inbound travellers will no longer have to quarantine or take a Covid test on arrival.

Instead, as the Chinese government continues to reverse some of the world’s strictest pandemic measures, travellers will only need to undergo a PCR test 48 hours before they set off.

Until now, people arriving in China had to spend five days in quarantine in a government facility, followed by three days of isolation in their own accommodation.

The Chinese government has also scrapped limits on the number and capacity of international flights, which previously were not allowed to arrive more than 75 percent full.

It will resume processing visa applications by foreign nationals who want to work, study or visit family in China, though it is unclear when tourists will be permitted to return.

The border between mainland China and Hong Kong, which was crossed by tens of thousands of people each day before it was effectively shut in early 2020, also reopened on Sunday.

Chinese travellers will once more be able to head to other countries too, as authorities begin issuing and renewing passports again.

Outbound restrictions

But Chinese residents considering a trip abroad for the first time since the start of the pandemic may find themselves facing restrictions on the other side, as a surge in coronavirus infections prompts several countries to introduce compulsory testing for travellers from China.

Read more on RFI English

Read also:
China calls Covid curbs on travellers 'unacceptable', threatens retaliation
France, Britain impose Covid tests on travellers from China
EU holds strategy talks as alarm grows over China's Covid surge