Travellers to China will no longer be required to take COVID-19 tests starting Wednesday, the country’s Foreign Ministry announced on Monday. The move is seen as a milestone in the country’s efforts to reopen to the rest of the world after a nearly three-year isolation due to the pandemic.
A notice on the website of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China said the travellers will also no longer be required to declare the negative test results while exiting and entering the country.
In January, the country ended the quarantine requirements for its own citizens travelling from abroad and gradually expanded the list of countries its citizens can travel to.
China also lifted a ban on group tours to overseas destinations including the US, Australia, the UK, South Korea and Japan, easing the door open for outbound travel.
China decided last December to end the three-year zero-COVID policy, which included mass-testing and stringent and persistent quarantine lockdowns. The abrupt decision led a massive surge in hospitalisations and deaths that health experts say were largely unreported by the government.
A US study showed that China’s move to dismantle its strict COVID-19 regime, which unleashed the virus onto its 1.4 billion residents, could have led to nearly 2 million excess deaths in the following two months.
Air travel to and from the country essentially dried up during Covid, which emerged in early 2020 and resulted in the world’s strictest border controls.
The study said the number of excess deaths far exceeded official Chinese government estimates in January that 60,000 people with COVID-19 had died in hospital since the zero-COVID policy was abandoned a month earlier.