China reopens borders after three years of COVID isolation | World News

China has reopened its borders to travelers from overseas for the first time in nearly three years.

People will no longer have to be quarantined on arrival but will be negative. COVID The test – taken within the last 48 hours – will still need to be shown.

The change has led to long queues at Hong Kong’s airport as people finally take the opportunity to travel to the mainland – many of them to reunite with long-lost family.

“I’m very happy, very happy, very excited. I haven’t seen my parents for many years,” Teresa Chu said at the China-Hong Kong border post on Sunday.

About 300,000 bookings from Hong Kong to the Mainland China According to the media in the city, it has already been made.

However, it may take some time until the number of international flights approaches pre-pandemic levels.

Beijing’s capital airport was expecting only eight flights from overseas on Sunday. Shanghai had its first international flight at 6.30am, with only a few more expected.

China has also resumed issuing passports and travel visas.

With overseas travel off the table from 2020, travel companies have reported a big increase in inquiries about holiday destinations near China such as Indonesia and Thailand.

Sunday’s border change marks a significant moment after China cut itself off from the rest of the world as it implemented its zero-COVID strategy.

Read more: Zero-COVID absolutely hammered China.

Workers remove quarantine barriers in the international arrivals hall of Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Workers remove quarantine barriers at Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

The government eventually backed down after its citizens grew increasingly angry and took to the streets in late 2022 in one of the biggest protests in years.

However, as a result of the increased number of coronavirus infections in China, hospitals are said to be overflowing with patients.

Many western countries, Including the UKhas responded in recent weeks by imposing new rules on arrivals from China, such as the requirement to show a negative test before flying.

Governments and the World Health Organization are concerned that China is hiding the extent of the rise in deaths and infections – which it denies.

The reopening of borders also coincides with the start of the New Year pilgrimage, during which people traditionally return to their hometowns to visit family.

Two billion trips are expected to be made this season, 70% of pre-Covid levels, the government said.

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