China is open again after almost three years. Quarantine on arrival is no longer necessary since this Sunday, and more international flights to and from the country are allowed again. Only a negative test of up to 48 hours old is still mandatory.

    Most restrictions have therefore been removed, and international news agencies write that travelers are making massive use of them. The relaxations come just in time for Chinese New Year on January 22, for which many Chinese people travel to their families.

    Tourism can now also start again. The Chinese news site Caixin wrote at the end of December that interest in foreign flights increased tenfold in the run-up to the reopening, and according to CNN there are more than five times as many bookings than a year earlier.

    Strict rules

    In March 2020, shortly after the outbreak of the corona pandemic, traveling to and from China became virtually impossible. Foreign airlines were only allowed one flight to China per week, and those planes could not be more than three-quarters full. Even Chinese citizens were no longer allowed to enter the country for anything but essential matters such as diplomacy.

    Six months later, more travelers were allowed again, but passengers had to quarantine for two weeks and then ten days later – one week in a government facility and three days in their own accommodation. This Sunday, that ten-day quarantine has expired, as has the restriction of one flight per week. Chinese people can also get visas to go abroad again.

    Measures in Europe

    The lifting of the travel restrictions follows the turn the Chinese government made in early December after widespread protests. The zero-covid policy that authorities had used until then suddenly ended. As a result, infection numbers shot up.

    As a result, it is not China that sets rules for travelers from other countries, but the other way around. For fear of outbreaks of new virus variants, several European countries made negative corona tests mandatory for air travelers from China. The Netherlands will join this from Tuesday.

    Read also Chinese care creaks under the corona wave: ‘Those who don’t have a fever just keep working’

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