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China Reopens Borders To Tourists Following Covid Closure of Three Years

For the first time since placing limits on overseas travel in March 2020, China has reopened its borders to travelers from outside.

As the nation fights a surge in cases, there will be no longer be a requirement for incoming travelers to quarantine, marking a dramatic shift in the Covid policy.

They will still demand documentation of a PCR test that was negative and performed within 48 hours of the trip.

Many people who are ready to reunite with family have welcomed the move.

In the upcoming weeks, 400,000 individuals from Hong Kong are anticipated to fly into locations like Beijing and Xiamen, where there would be lengthy lines for flights.

Several college students returning home arrived on Sunday in double-decker buses full of passengers at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge to board buses to the Guangdong province.

One man told the BBC that he hadn’t seen his extended family in five years and that, having recently purchased a ticket to return to China, he was unable to contain his joy.

Despite the fact that one of her parents had colon cancer, a woman told the news agency Reuters that she had not seen her parents in years and that she was “so, so joyful.”

The reopening of the nation coincides with the beginning of “chun yun,” the first travel season during the Lunar New Year. It was the largest yearly global migration of individuals going home to visit relatives prior to the epidemic.

This Lunar New Year, two billion trips are anticipated, which is twice as many as in 2017.

Li Hua, who traveled to China for the festival from the UK to visit her family, said it had been “too long” since she had last been back. “I’m so pleased to be here, and breathe Chinese air,” she said. So joyful, so joyful.

After visiting Hong Kong, Mark Clayton traveled back to his hometown of Zhuhai in Guandong with his wife and infant. His return flight had been “almost as smooth as it used to be pre-Covid,” he told the BBC.

“We didn’t even show them the PCR; instead, we quickly scanned a code and entered a customs statement… And straight through after that,” he said.

However, other people worry that expanding the borders will increase the spread of Covid-19.

At the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, some local bus drivers told the BBC that they are concerned they might contract the virus from arriving travelers and that their employers should give them better protection.

China had one of the strongest Covid health rules over the past three years, which resulted in repeated lockdowns, frequent testing procedures, and a substantial impact on the country’s economy.

Following widespread demonstrations around the nation in response to a fire in a high-rise building in the Xinjiang province that left 10 people dead, the government recently reversed course on that policy. Although authorities disputed this, many Chinese suspected that the long-standing Covid restrictions were a factor in the deaths.

Hospitals and crematoriums have reportedly been overcrowded since China abandoned the main tenets of its Covid zero policy, but the nation has stopped disclosing its case numbers and only announced two deaths on Saturday.

The Chinese government deleted more than 1,000 social media accounts on the same day for criticizing how it handled the outbreak.

Many nations, including the UK, have implemented criteria for a negative COVID-19 test on people travelling from China, angering the Chinese government. This is due to the predicted spike in cases and transit out of China.

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