- China will stop requiring foreign travellers to go into quarantine from 8 January.
- It’s another step in the move away from the country’s zero-COVID policy.
- Until Monday’s announcement, strict requirements on inbound travellers remained in place.
Beijing also narrowed the criteria by which COVID fatalities are counted last week, a move experts said would suppress the number of deaths attributable to the virus.
Another Shanghai local, surnamed Du, said a swifter reopening may help the country reach so-called herd immunity more quickly, adding that there was “no way to avoid” the virus in the eastern megacity.
Beijing’s foreign ministry said Tuesday that countries should uphold “scientific and appropriate” disease controls that “should not affect normal personnel exchanges”.
An uptick in international trade missions is now expected for next year, he told AFP, although the full resumption of business operations is likely to be “gradual” as airlines slowly bring more flights online and companies tweak their China strategies for 2023.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a regular press briefing that China would “optimise” arrangements for foreign nationals seeking to return to work, conduct business, study abroad or visit relatives.
Some studies have projected around one million people could die in China from COVID over the next few months.
The lifting of quarantine for overseas arrival marks the most major shift away from the country’s zero-COVID policy. Source: AAP / Wu Hao
The government announced last week that it would effectively stop recording the number of people who were dying of COVID.
The winter surge comes ahead of major public holidays next month in which hundreds of millions of people are expected to travel to their hometowns to reunite with relatives.