China Travel: No Quarantine For International Travellers

China travel is imminent as the country’s zero-Covid policy is ending. At the end of December 2022, China’s National Health Commission announced that starting January 8 2023, inbound travellers would no longer need to quarantine upon arrival on the mainland. This change marks the end of highly restrictive measures imposed for nearly three years in the world’s most populous country.

Travellers to China would only need to show a negative test result, taken within the last 48 hours, and wouldn’t have to apply for a clear health code anymore. Passengers would still need to wear a face mask while on their flights.

China travel 2023: Borders have reopened
Chinese people are quick to book overseas travel after authorities announced it would reopen its borders next month. | Credit: Edward He via Unsplash

China Travel: No Quarantine for visitors

Also, effective January 8 2023, authorities would stop tracking close contacts of Covid-19 patients, halt the designation of risk areas and cancel Covid-19 measures that had slowed the import of goods. Furthermore, the Chinese government is looking at improving visa arrangements for foreigners to enter the country for the resumption of work, business, study, visiting relatives and other gatherings.

China travel plans also extend to Chinese citizens, and they should be able to resume travel soon. However, the government has yet to provide details on when this relaxation will be implemented. During the pandemic, Beijing prevented Chinese citizens from getting passports or leaving the country unless they had an apparent reason, typically for business.

News reports say the search for travel to China soared to a three-year high hours after this announcement. It seems that travellers from Japan, Thailand, South Korea, the U.S., Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the U.K. are looking to travel to China for Chinese New Year, aka the Lunar New Year.

According to flight data, international flights to and from China are at 8% of pre-pandemic levels. Airlines were reported to be making plans to increase flights to China. However, analysts say a robust return in the number of flights to and fro the mainland would occur in May 2023, not before.

China Travel: Borders have Reopened
Asian countries are bracing for an influx of Chinese tourists as the Chinese government relaxes travel restrictions. | Credit: Miguel Bruna via Unsplash

China Travel: A Covid-19 Concern

Perhaps you want to hold on to your China travel plans for a bit. Rising Covid-19 infections in China have been making headlines as hospitals across China appear to be overwhelmed with patients. It also seems that the virus is spreading rapidly through frontline medical workers. Funeral parlour workers have also reported a surge in demand for their services.

Last week, British-based health data firm Airfinity estimated China was experiencing more than a million infections and 5,000 deaths daily. International health experts estimate millions of daily infections and predict at least one million Covid-19 deaths in China next year.

China’s National Health Commission has stopped publishing daily Covid-19 data, and official statistics showed only one death in the seven days up to December 26, 2022. “Relevant information will be published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention for reference and research,” said the commission. Reasons for the change or how frequently new information will be updated were not given.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) is preparing to face a possible hike in the number of daily Covid-19 cases and deaths following the surge of infections in China. | Credit: Brian Matangelo via Unsplash

The lack of data transparency, coupled with the decision by the world’s second-largest economy to open its borders, has led to governments requiring Covid-19 tests for all visitors arriving from China. The U.S. and Japan are among the countries that require travellers from China to show a negative test result before boarding their flights. For the Us, this requirement will apply to passengers flying directly from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, and to passengers flying through popular third-country gateways, including Seoul, Toronto and Vancouver.

Chinese nationals appear eager to go overseas for the Lunar New Year holidays. This is also known as the Spring Festival and is among China’s most significant public holidays. Next year, China’s Lunar New Year holidays will run from January 21 to January 27. According to Group, searches for travel abroad surged to a three-year high within half an hour after announcing the new relaxed measures. In Malaysia, tourism agencies expect a million Chinese tourists to enter the country in 2023.

Ready to visit one of the 57 Unesco World Heritage Sites in China? This is the magnificent Temple of Heaven in the Forbidden City in Beijing. This temple symbolises the relationship between earth and heaven, which stands at the heart of Chinese cosmogony. | Credit: Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China


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