China will scrap quarantine for travellers from January 8, officials said, marking the last major shift from the country’s “zero-conviction” policy.
This will reopen the country to individuals with employment and study visas and those looking to visit relatives after nearly three years of closed borders.
But it occurs as China battles the virus’s violent spread following the removal of limitations. A few fatalities and about 4,000 new COVID infections per day were recorded in Beijing last week.
President Xi Jinping was targeted in rare public protests in November as a result of public discontent with the programme, and authorities soon abandoned the COVID regulations as a result.
Closed borders are still the fundamental limitation. Since March 2020, everybody entering China has been subject to the requirement that they spend up to three weeks at a time in a state facility’s mandatory quarantine. Recently, it was shortened to five days.
On the other hand, COVID was formally reduced to a Class B infectious disease on January 8, according to a statement made by the National Health Commission on Monday.
As a result, quarantine would be abolished (although new arrivals would still need to undergo a PCR test), and the daily flying limit entering China would also be lifted.
People in cold-weather cities like Beijing and Shanghai claim to be out of cold and flu medications and are rushing to locate medical care for sick family members. It is anticipated that hundreds of fatalities may not be recognised because crematoriums are overwhelmed.
In his opening remarks on the modifications on Monday, President Xi urged officials to take “feasible” action to preserve lives. He was quoted by state media as saying that since the country was dealing with a new pandemic control crisis, a more targeted approach was needed.
Mr. Xi is in a bind because of China’s about-face on how it handles the pandemic. He was the main proponent of zero-Covid, which many criticised for severely limiting people’s freedoms and damaging the economy.
The massive surge of illnesses and hospital admissions, however, are the result of his abandoning it, according to analysts, and he must now accept responsibility. Why the nation was not more ready has been a topic of much discussion.