China will stop passenger quarantine on January 8, marking the last major modification to its zero-Covid 19 policy.
After three years of restricted borders, this will allow work, study, and family visa holders to enter.
However, this comes as China battles with the rapid spread of the virus following the removal of prohibitions.
Hospitals are overloaded and elderly patients are dying, according to reports.
Officials have ceased disclosing Covid data, thus the real toll, including daily case numbers and fatalities, is unclear at this time.
Approximately 4,000 new Covid infections were recorded daily in Beijing last week, with few fatalities.
It stopped publishing case numbers Sunday. According to Reuters, British health data firm Airfinity estimated China had over a million illnesses and 5,000 fatalities daily.
After three years of lockdowns, blocked borders, and quarantine, China is the final major economy to “live with Covid.”
Zero-Covid 19 hurt the economy and made people tired of restrictions and examinations. In November, protests against President Xi Jinping resulted in the repeal of Covid restrictions.
Borders are the final obstacle. Since March 2020, everybody entering China must undergo mandatory three-week quarantine at a governmental facility. Reduced to five days.
The National Health Commission declared on Monday that Covid 19 would be reduced to a Class B infectious disease on January 8.
Quarantine and a daily flight cap were eliminated, but incoming travelers still had to perform a PCR test.
China would “optimize” visa conditions for foreigners coming to work, study, and visit family.
Uncertain if this covers tourist visas, officials announced a test program for international cruise ships.
The new laws have been welcomed by many Chinese citizens, who can now travel abroad once more. Within hours of the announcement, the nation’s leading online travel providers reported an increase in traffic.
However, many have also expressed resentment at the unexpected liberation after years of restrictions.
“I am elated but also rendered speechless. Why did I have to endure the daily Covid tests and lockdowns this year if we were going to do this [reopening] any way?” Shanghai resident Rachel Liu said.
In April, she had spent three months in quarantine, but in recent weeks, practically her entire family had contracted the illness.
She reported her parents, grandparents, and partner in Xi’an, Shanghai, and Hangzhou all experienced fever last week.
Many have also expressed online concern over the reopening of borders as the number of Covid 19 cases in China grows.
“Why can’t we wait for this wave to pass before opening? The medical staff is already exhausted, and elderly patients cannot survive two infections in one month “Read one of the most popular Weibo comments.
People in winter-chilled cities such as Beijing and Shanghai report running out of flu and cold medication and scrambling to find medical assistance for sick relatives. It is anticipated that hundreds of deaths may not be registered since crematoriums are at capacity.
President Xi made his first statements regarding the measures on Monday, urging officials to do all “possible” to save lives. He was quoted by state media as saying that the country faced a new pandemic control situation and required a more targeted approach.
According to observers, Mr. Xi is in a difficult position because of China’s reversal of pandemic management. He was the leading driver behind zero-Covid 19, which was condemned by many for unnecessarily restricting people’s lives and damaging the economy.
As a result of abandoning it, analysts argue he now bears responsibility for the massive outbreak of illnesses and hospitalizations. Numerous individuals have questioned why the nation was not better prepared.