China said Monday it would scrap mandatory quarantine on arrival, further unwinding years of strict virus controls as the country battles a surge in cases
Having mostly cut itself off from the rest of the world during the pandemic, China is now experiencing an unprecedented surge in infections after abruptly lifting restrictions that torpedoed the economy and sparked nationwide protests.
And in a sudden end to nearly three years of strict border controls, Beijing said late Monday it would scrap mandatory quarantines for overseas travellers.
Since March 2020, all passengers arriving in China have had to undergo mandatory centralised quarantine. This decreased from three weeks to one week this summer, and to five days last month.
But under new rules that will take effect January 8, when Covid-19 will be downgraded to a Class B infectious disease from Class A, they will no longer need to.
“According to the national health quarantine law, infectious disease quarantine measures will no longer be taken against inbound travellers and goods,” the National Health Commission (NHC) said.
The move is likely to be greeted with joy from Chinese citizens and diaspora unable to return and see relatives for much of the pandemic.