China announces resumption of outbound tourism in an orderly manner; COVID-19 test for inbound travelers scrapped
Published: Dec 27, 2022 12:19 PM Updated: Dec 27, 2022 12:15 PM
Chinese customs Photo: VCG

Chinese customs Photo: VCG

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced on Tuesday that starting from January 8, 2023, nucleic acid tests will no longer be carried out on people entering the country, and that those with normal health declarations without abnormal customs quarantine will no longer undergo any special process.

According to the notice of interim measures for personnel exchanges between China and foreign countries issued by the MFA on Tuesday, those with no issues to report in their health declaration who have been given regular customs inspection and quarantine clearance can enter China without being subject to quarantine.

Those with issues to report in their health declaration or symptoms such as fever shall receive antigen tests at the customs. For travelers who test positive, those determined to be asymptomatic or mild cases without serious underlying health conditions may self-quarantine or exercise self-care at home or place of residence.

Other types of cases are advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Those who test negative shall go through regular customs inspection and quarantine clearance in accordance with the Frontier Health and Quarantine Law and other established laws and regulations of China.

China will gradually resume the entry and exit of passengers and commercial transport at land ports based on comprehensive assessment, the notice said.

For international cruise ships, a pilot program will be carried out to offer more convenience for Chinese and foreign sailors to change shifts in China.

The ministry will further optimize arrangements for foreigners returning to China for work resumption, business, study, family visits and reunions, and provide visa facilities accordingly.

In light of the international epidemic situation and the service support capacity of all sectors, China will resume outbound tourism for Chinese citizens in an orderly manner in accordance with the principle of pilot programs, the notice said.

People coming to China should undergo a nucleic acid test 48 hours before their departure, it said. Those with negative test results will be granted entry into China. There is no need to apply for a health code from Chinese diplomatic and consular missions abroad. If positive, passengers should wait until they return a negative test before traveling to China.

Addressing the consideration behind the above-mentioned measures, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin responded on Tuesday at the regular press briefing that the Chinese government has effectively coordinated COVID response with economic and social development and has refined the response measures by keeping them science-based, targeted and responsive to the evolving situation.

In accordance with the 20 refined measures, the 10 new measures and the latest decision to downgrade management of COVID-19 to Class-B, relevant departments under the State Council joint prevention and control mechanism formulated these provisional measures on cross-border travel, which are up-to-date and in sync with the current domestic COVID measures. This will facilitate efforts to better coordinate COVID response with economic and social development, and make cross-border travel easier, safer, more orderly and more efficient, Wang said.

On Monday, the National Health Commission issued a notice addressing the downgrading Class A management of COVID-19 to Class B from January 8, 2023, which proposed to optimize the management of personnel exchanges between China and foreign countries.

Data from travel agency Trip showed that within half an hour of the launch of the notice, the number of searches for popular overseas destinations on the platform surged tenfold, and searches for outbound air tickets and overseas hotels both hit three-year peaks.

In addition, data from Tongcheng Travel platform showed the instantaneous search volume of international air tickets across the platform increased by 850 percent after the news was released.

According to a poll conducted by Shell Finance on Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media platforms, 70,000 people had voted for their desired outbound destination as of press time, with the top three countries being Thailand, Japan and South Korea.

Addressing if China will issue tourist visas next month, Wang said that China will continue to adjust its visa policy for foreign nationals to keep up with the latest COVID situation and ease the travel of people coming to China for various purposes.

Global Times