A flood of people returning home is expected as a result of China’s long-awaited border reopening, which is the last stage in the demolition of Covid Zero. However, it may take some time for transport to fully recover.
After authorities abandoned the rule, which was a key barrier for visitors along with the expensive expense of air travel amid severe capacity restrictions, China will no longer need quarantine for arrivals as of this Sunday. The significant relaxation of border controls just two weeks before the Lunar New Year vacation signals the end of Beijing’s efforts to keep out a virus that has come to be recognised as endemic around the world, even if anybody wishing to enter the country will still need to have a 48-hour negative Covid test result.
The stringent “zero-COVID” policy of China is finally being dismantled with the relaxation of restrictions on international travel.
Following historic protests against the limitations last month, Beijing started to roll back the tough tactics of mandatory quarantines, punishing lockdowns, and regular testing. However, the sudden changes have made many of its 1.4 billion people susceptible to the virus for the first time, sparking a wave of infections that are overrunning some hospitals, depleting the stock of medications at pharmacies, and creating long lineups at cemeteries.
The removal of quarantine regulations effectively allows many Chinese to go outside of their country for the first time since borders were closed nearly three years ago, without having to worry about being isolated at government facilities upon their return.
But the anticipated increase in tourists has prompted more than a dozen nations to mandate COVID-19 tests for visitors from China, citing worries over Beijing’s “under-representation” of illnesses and fatalities from the sickness as well as the possibility of the introduction of new and more severe coronavirus subvariants.
Connor Zhao, a 25-year-old consultant from San Francisco, said, “I haven’t been home in almost two years, so the announcement felt like a fever dream.” He is currently on vacation in Bangkok and will travel to Qingdao on January 19, stopping in Hong Kong along the way because there are more flights into the mainland from there.
“I’m very excited to see my parents. Getting to spend Chinese New Year with them means a lot to me,” he added.