After years of closure, China has reopened its border following an end to the country’s zero-COVID policy. China opened sea and land crossings with Hong Kong, ending a requirement for incoming travelers to quarantine.
China, one of the world’s tightest COVID regimes, ended the policy after protesters took to the street in rejection of the policy, which included mass lockdowns that saw its economy hit hard, curbs on movement, and frequent testing.
China reopens borders after three years of COVID isolation https://t.co/2EELtcflzW
— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 8, 2023
According to NewsMax, long queues formed at check-in counters at the Hong Kong international airport to board flights to China’s mainland cities, including Beijing, Xiamen, and Tianjin. Many Chinese citizens are also expected to start traveling abroad.
Teresa Chow, a resident who joined dozens of other travelers preparing to cross into mainland China from Hong Kong, said she was happy and excited about the border reopening.
Moments after China said it would reopen its borders to international travel for the first time in three years, sales of air tickets out of the country soared, as people leapt at the chance to put zero-Covid behind them.@raffaelehuang @rachelliang5602https://t.co/xGVEK82bIU
— Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ) December 27, 2022
“My parents are not in good health and I couldn’t go back to see them even when they had colon cancer, so I’m really happy to go back and see them now,” Chow said.
Shen, a 55-year-old Beijing resident, said she has been looking forward to the reopening for a long time.
“Finally, we are reconnected with the world. I’m thrilled, I can’t believe it’s happening,” Shen said.
The Chinese government began issuing passports and travel visas for mainland residents and ordinary visas and residence permits for foreigners on Sunday.
The reopening comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the U.S. would begin demanding travelers from China show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before they board.
The policy will require passengers two years and older to show a negative PCR or antigen test taken within two days before departure at the gate.
Passengers traveling from China to the USA via a third country will also be required to comply with the rule unless they have tested positive for the virus at least ten days before the flight and can provide documentation of recovery if they had a negative test result.