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China’s border has reopened after almost three years

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China's international border has reopened to some travellers after closing at the start of the pandemic.
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China’s international border has reopened to some travellers after closing at the start of the pandemic.

It is the world’s last major economy to reopen after the pandemic. The move comes during a high-travel period and amid a new COVID-19 wave in China.

Here’s what you need to know.

The context

As of 8 January, the Chinese Government has relaxed its travel requirements for some international arrivals. Now, there are no quarantine measures for new arrivals.

It has also resumed reviews for Chinese passports and foreign visa applications, while close contacts of a positive case will stop being identified.

Non-Chinese travellers could enter China for purposes such as business, study, and to visit family. Government notices didn’t specify tourism as a reason for travel.

There are still some restrictions. Travellers arriving in China are being asked to undertake a COVID-19 test 48 hours before takeoff, and to only travel if they test negative.

Passengers will also have to wear a mask when boarding a flight to China.

People travelling overseas from China are also facing new restrictions due to the new COVID-19 wave. In Australia, for example, passengers need to submit a negative COVID-19 test 48 hours before travel.

A surge in cases

A surge in COVID-19 cases has been reported in China this month.

Last week, the World Health Organisation publicly asked the Chinese Government to provide more reliable data on the outbreak.

They believe current numbers are downplaying the true impact of the new wave.

The border has also been reopened less than two weeks before Lunar New Year, which is typically a busy travel period in China.

Economic effect

China’s travel restrictions have blocked trade with many of its key partners.

Restrictions due to COVID-19 drove the first decline in China’s multi-trillion-dollar economy in almost 50 years.

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