China eases its ‘zero COVID’ policy

COVID-19 Information

Last updated: Nov 11th, 2022

China has reduced the amount of time travelers entering the country must spend in quarantine and removed a major restriction on international flights, in a sign of a limited easing of its stringent zero-Covid policy.

What are China’s latest travel restrictions?

Passengers on inbound flights to the Asian country will now need to show only one negative PCR test taken within 48 hours before boarding, according to the note released by China’s National Health Commission. Previously two negative PCR tests were required.

International arrivals now need to quarantine for eight days instead of ten, while officials will no longer record secondary contacts for tracing – allowing many to avoid quarantine.

In today’s announcement, the controversial ‘circuit breaker’ mechanism was also ended

This much-criticised rule meant that all international flights to China could be banned for one to two weeks when a “high” number of infected passengers were discovered on arrival.

It often led to flights being cancelled at the last minute, creating significant disruption for travellers.

Many often had to wait several weeks or even months before finding seats on a flight to China.

China is the last major economy to maintain strict COVID prevention policies, with its borders still tightly shut to most foreign nationals.

The long-awaited announcement, however, does not explicitly mention when the changes will take effect.