China to drop COVID quarantine requirement for incoming passengers
China will still require travelers to provide a negative virus test 48 hours before departure.
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China said it will no longer require passengers traveling from abroad to quarantine starting Jan. 8, as the country shows signs of easing stringent COVID-19 mandates.
Passengers arriving in China are currently required to isolate for five days at a hotel and three days at home, which is down from three-week quarantines in the past.
China's National Health Commission said people entering the country will still be required to wear masks on planes and provide a negative virus test 48 hours before departure, The Associated Press reported.
The restrictions have prevented many Chinese from traveling abroad and reduced the number of foreign visitors. The health agency said it would be easier for foreigners to enter, and it indicated that gradually, Chinese will be able to travel abroad for tourism.
Many of China's pandemic restrictions were dropped over the past few weeks following mass protests against the government's zero-COVID policies.
The ease in restrictions may be leading to higher COVID numbers. During the first 20 days of December, nearly 250 million people are estimated to have been infected with COVID in China, according to multiple media reports. The National Health Commission has stopped publishing data, per CNN, but the World Health Organization states that China has had more than 10 million confirmed cases and over 31,000 deaths.
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