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Chinese Government’s announcement of easing of pandemic border measures prompts rush of overseas travel bookings

Chinese Government’s announcement of easing of pandemic border measures prompts rush of overseas travel bookings
December 28, 2022

An announcement by the Chinese Government that the nation’s borders will reopen next month has prompted a rush of people to book overseas travel.

Despite ongoing mass Coronavirus infections in the country, China’s immigration administration announced on Monday that passport applications for Chinese citizens wishing to travel internationally will resume from 8th January while almost three years of strict quarantine rules for arrivals will end.

However, concerns over the extent of the COVID-19 in the world’ most populous nation and a lack of transparency from the Chinese Government may see other countries impose restrictions on travellers from China

In a statement quoted by news agencies, US immigration officials advised “there are mounting concerns in the international community on the ongoing COVID-19 surges in China and the lack of transparent data, including viral genomic sequence data.

"Without this data, it is becoming increasingly difficult for public health officials to ensure that they will be able to identify any potential new variants and take prompt measures to reduce the spread."

Japan - one of the most popular destinations for Chinese travellers - has announced that all travellers from China must show a negative COVID test on arrival, or quarantine for seven days, because of the surge in cases there.

India has also said travellers from China (as well as some other countries) must show a negative COVID test when they arrive - though this was announced before this week's easing of restrictions.

The easing of travel rules in China - the last part of the country's zero-COVID policy - comes as the country battles a new wave of infections.

This week has also seen China’s National Health Commission announce that COVID would be formally downgraded to a Class B infectious disease on 8th January.

Before the relaxation of travel rules, people were strongly discouraged from travelling abroad. The sale of outbound group and package travel was banned, according to marketing solutions company Dragon Trail International.

Within half an hour of Monday's notice that China's borders would reopen, data from travel site - cited in Chinese media - showed searches for popular destinations had increased 10-fold year-on-year.

The easing will also see a re-opening of the land border between China and Hong Kong, a move welcomed by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).

Commenting on the easing of restrictions a HKTDC spokesperson advised "given the importance of economic and social connectivity between the Mainland and Hong Kong, the resumption of quarantine-free travel between Mainland China and Hong Kong will certainly be welcomed by many international and Mainland business people who have been waiting for this good news. The unimpeded flow of international and Mainland travellers will also benefit the convention and exhibition sector."

Image: Masked Chinese tourists at Hong Kong Disneyland.

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