China is making a significant adjustment in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic by eliminating quarantine requirements for foreign arrivals and reopening its borders to the outside world as of January 2023.
Beijing declared on Monday that COVID-19 would be reduced from a Category A virus, the highest and most deadly tier, to a Category B virus, despite reports that hospitals across China are reportedly collapsing under the weight of patients who have tested positive for COVID.
The majority of the limitations imposed during the pandemic that seized China for the past three years would be lifted as a result of the downgrading, according to the National Health Commission.
Domestically, China will stop allowing local governments to place substantial portions of the population under quarantine. Residents and close contacts who test positive for Covid will no longer need to separate themselves, and testing will become optional.
From January 8, 2023, all visitors will no longer be subject to quarantine in China. Travelers will still need to get a negative PCR test within 48 hours of leaving, but no additional testing will be necessary once they arrive, and they can enter all public places right away.
Additionally, the National Health Commission said that airlines would no longer be prohibited from transporting travelers into China who later tested positive for COVID-19 on flights to China, however, passengers will still need to wear a face mask.
“China’s novel coronavirus epidemic prevention and control is facing a new situation and new task, and the prevention and control work has entered a new stage,” the NHC said on Monday.
“COVID-19 will exist in nature for a long time, and its pathogenicity will be significantly reduced from the early stage, and the disease will gradually evolve into a common respiratory infectious disease,” the statement continued.
China has essentially stopped recording new COVID-19 cases in recent days, but some estimates indicate that more than 250 million people may have contracted the virus in just 20 days.
Since COVID limitations were abruptly lifted, it might take some time for air services to China to pick up, and international airlines are unlikely to have the extra capacity to offer services to the nation right once.