China To Reopen Borders To Tourists After 3-Year Halt During Pandemic

HONG KONG (AP) — China will reopen its borders to vacationers and resume issuing all visas Wednesday after a three-year halt through the pandemic because it sought to spice up its tourism and economic system.

China is likely one of the final main nations to reopen its borders to vacationers. The announcement Tuesday got here after it declared a “decisive victory” over COVID-19 in February.

All forms of visas will resume from Wednesday. Visa-free entry additionally will resume at locations similar to Hainan island in addition to for cruise ships getting into Shanghai that had no visa requirement earlier than COVID-19.

Foreigners holding visas issued earlier than March 28, 2020, which are nonetheless legitimate can be allowed to enter China. Visa-free entry will resume for foreigners getting into Guangdong in southern China from Hong Kong and Macao. The discover didn’t specify whether or not vaccination certificates or unfavorable COVID-19 exams could be required, however Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin informed reporters Tuesday that China had “optimized measures for remote testing of people coming to China from relevant countries,” permitting pre-boarding antigen testing as a substitute of nucleic acid testing.

Travellers queue as much as undergo passport management at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on March 12, 2023 in Shanghai, China. The variety of cross-border vacationers at Shanghai Pudong International Airport has steadily elevated since China optimized its epidemic prevention and management measures.

Shen Chunchen/VCG through Getty Images

The transfer would “further facilitate the exchange of Chinese and foreign personnel,” in line with the discover posted on the web sites of quite a few Chinese missions and embassies.

China had caught to a harsh “zero-COVID” technique involving sudden lockdowns and every day COVID-19 testing to attempt to cease the virus earlier than abandoning most points of the coverage in December amid rising opposition.

The leisure of visa guidelines follows China’s approval of outbound group excursions for Chinese residents, the outcomes of which have been constructive, and the general enchancment in pandemic situations, Wang mentioned.

“China will continue to make better arrangements for the safe, healthy and orderly movement of Chinese and foreign personnel on the basis of scientific assessments and in light of the situation,” he mentioned. “We also hope that all parties will join China in creating favorable conditions for cross-border exchanges.”