On Sunday, China lifted its quarantine regulations for incoming travelers, putting an end to a nearly three-year period of seclusion even as the nation confronts an increase in Covid infections.
Beijing started a dramatic deconstruction of its tough anti-virus campaign, which had imposed obligatory quarantines and oppressive lockdowns, last month.
The containment strategy has destroyed China’s economy and caused widespread demonstrations.
On Sunday, the regulations will finally be dropped, removing the requirement that visitors visiting China check in at a quarantine facility.
All new entrants have been required to undergo isolation at centralized government facilities since March 2020. From three weeks to one week this summer and then to five days in November, this period has shrunk.
Following last month’s announcement by authorities that the quarantine would be lifted, Chinese citizens hurried to book vacations abroad, driving up enquiries on well-known travel websites.
But as the world’s most populous country fights its worst-ever outbreak, the anticipated increase in travelers has prompted over a dozen countries to mandate Covid tests for visitors from that country.
As China enters the Lunar New Year holiday this month, during which millions are anticipated to travel from hard-hit megacities to the countryside to visit vulnerable older relatives, the outbreak is predicted to get worse.
Beijing has criticized travel restrictions put in place by other nations as “inappropriate,” despite the fact that Beijing continues to largely prohibit foreign tourists and international students from visiting China.