China has announced that it will be allowing international travellers to enter the country once again, lifting its travel restrictions that have been in place since March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
While incoming travellers will still be required to provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of their trip, they will no longer have to quarantine upon arriving in the country.
The change in policy has been met with excitement from many individuals looking to reunite with their families, with an estimated 400,000 people expected to travel from Hong Kong to mainland China in the coming weeks.
The reopening of the borders coincides with the start of “chun yun,” a period of intense travel as people return home to spend time with their loved ones during the Lunar New Year. It is estimated that there will be approximately two billion trips taken during this time, double the amount of travel that took place last year. However, there are concerns that the reopening of the borders could lead to a surge in Covid-19 cases.
Some local bus drivers have expressed their worries about potentially contracting the virus from incoming travellers, calling on their companies to provide them with additional protection.
The Chinese government’s decision to lift its travel restrictions has also prompted other countries, including the UK, to implement requirements for a negative Covid-19 test for individuals arriving from China, a move that has been met with criticism from the Chinese government.
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