China plans to cut mandatory quarantine for foreign travellers
China is reportedly planning to cut mandatory quarantines for foreign travellers as early as next month. According to Bloomberg News, two anonymous sources say that officials are considering a “0+3” policy, which means that arrivals into the country won’t be required to spend time in a quarantine hotel or an isolation facility.
China will continue to ease Covid-19 restrictions, according to its ambassador to the US, Qin Gang. He says the country will welcome even more international travellers in the “near future.”
Qin went on to describe the loosening of Covid restrictions as being a “dynamic readjustment,” which is acknowledged as a play on the “dynamic zero Covid” policy in the recent past. He then addressed worries over how the restrictions have hurt the economy. He says the government recognises the “coordination of Covid response and economic growth.”
“The government is taking a very responsible attitude to protect people’s lives facing the threat of Covid. And our response policy in these matters has always been dynamic, not rigid- you know, just lockdown and asking people to confine to their homes- that’s not true.”
“We know people’s concerns. Now, the measures are being relaxed and in the near future I believe that measures will be further relaxed and international travel will become easier.”
Arrivals would be subject, instead, to three days of monitoring. But, details concerning the type and form of monitoring are unclear. Currently, travellers from abroad who arrive in China are required to enter a quarantine facility or hotel for at least the first five days.
The alleged move comes as China recently announced its plans to loosen restrictions surrounding one of the world’s strictest policies on Covid-19. Lockdowns and isolation have been the norm for the country since the beginning of the pandemic as it implemented a Zero Covid policy. As unprecedented protests mounted earlier this year, Chinese officials responded by scrapping the policy but experts are warning that as many as two million deaths could be seen as the country enters the holiday season.
A lack of immunity due to the extreme measures of isolation and allegedly less effective Chinese-made vaccines are being attributed to the expected increase in Covid-related deaths over the new year. Just three days ago, China reported its first fatality rates after the recent loosening of Covid restrictions. According to CNBC, three people died last weekend after contracting Covid-19, marking the first fatalities since the last report in May. All three were aged 87 to 91 and lived in Beijing. Last Sunday alone, Beijing reported more than 26,000 infections, both symptomatic and asymptomatic.
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