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China: People hurry to book travel as borders finally reopen

China: People hurry to book travel as borders finally reopen

China: People hurry to book travel as borders finally reopen

China: People hurry to book travel as borders finally reopen

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  • Traffic on travel-related websites has increased.
  • Passport application to start from January 8.
  • Entrance to all nations would not be unrestricted for Chinese tourists.
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Since Beijing declared it would reopen its borders next month, Chinese citizens have hurried to make travel arrangements abroad.

The immigration department announced that passport applications for Chinese nationals intending to travel abroad will start up again on January 8.

It comes after a Monday declaration that put an end to nearly three years of rigorous quarantine regulations for newcomers.

Since then, traffic on travel-related websites has increased.

However, entrance to all nations would not be unrestricted for Chinese tourists.

Due to worries about an increase in instances and a lack of openness from the Chinese government, authorities in the US are exploring new restrictions on travellers from China.

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According to US authorities, who were reported by news organisations, “there are growing worries in the international community regarding the continuous Covid-19 surges in China and the lack of transparent data, particularly viral genome sequence data.”

Without this information, it is getting more and harder for public health professionals to make sure they can spot any potential new varieties and act quickly to stop the spread.

Due to an increase in cases, Japan, one of the most popular vacation destinations for Chinese tourists, has announced that all visitors from China must demonstrate a negative Covid test upon arrival or face a seven-day quarantine.

India has also stated that travellers from China (and certain other countries) must present a negative Covid test upon arrival; however, this announcement was made prior to Beijing’s relaxation of its prohibitions.

The remaining piece of China’s zero-Covid policy, the relaxation of travel regulations, comes as the nation fights a fresh wave of infections.

Covid limits were loosened nationwide as a result of resentment towards the government’s policies, which in November ignited unusually large-scale public demonstrations against President Xi Jinping.

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However, there was a subsequent rise in Covid cases, with tales of overcrowded hospitals and a medicine shortage.

The revelation on Monday, which eliminated quarantine requirements for visitors coming in China, was followed by the announcement on outbound travel on Tuesday. Additionally, a limit on the number of flights per day was removed.

The National Health Commission declared that Covid would formally be reduced to a Class B infectious disease on January 8 of the same year.

People were highly discouraged from travelling overseas prior to the liberalisation of travel regulations. According to marketing solutions provider Dragon Trail International, the selling of outbound group and package trips was prohibited.

In Chinese media, it was reported that within 30 minutes after Monday’s announcement that China’s borders will reopen, searches for popular locations had multiplied tenfold year over year.

The most popular locations were Macau, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, and South Korea.

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Additionally, the China Daily adds that within the first 15 minutes of the announcement, the Chinese travel agent Qunar observed a seven-fold rise in the number of flight inquiries on its website.

According to Statista, 155 million Chinese tourists travelled abroad in 2019 prior to the epidemic. In 2020, its number fell to 20 million.

Some Chinese citizens may be hoping to travel this year over the Chinese New Year, which starts on January 22.

There has, however, been a range of responses within China.

“I’m delighted by it but also incomprehensible. Why did I have to endure all the daily Covid tests and lockdowns this year if we’re going to do this [reopening]?” stated Shanghai resident Rachel Liu.

She claimed that even though her family had been under lockdown for three months starting in April, almost everyone had recently fallen ill.

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She claimed that last week, all of her family members who reside in three different cities—Xi’an, Shanghai, and Hangzhou—including her parents, grandparents, and partner—all developed fevers.

As Covid instances reach their height, many people have also expressed alarm online about borders reopening.

“Why can’t we hold off on opening until this wave has passed? The medical staff is already exhausted, and elderly patients won’t be able to endure two infections in a month “read the most popular Weibo comment.

People in areas like Beijing and Shanghai, where the winters are chilly, claim to be running low on cold and flu medications.

It’s thought that because crematoriums are overloaded, hundreds of deaths may not be registered.

According to officials, Paxlovid tablets from Pfizer would be made available in Beijing’s capital city in an effort to lessen the severity of illnesses. However, when The Global Times contacted health centres on Monday, they reported that the medication had not yet arrived.

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President Xi made his first comments on the revisions on Monday, urging officials to take “feasible” action to save lives.

Mr. Xi is in trouble as a result of China’s about-face. Zero-Covid, which many claimed severely restricted people’s lifestyles and destroyed the economy, was the brainchild of this individual.

However, analysts claim that since he gave it up, he now must take responsibility for the enormous wave of illnesses and hospital admissions. Why the nation was not more ready has been questioned by many.

 

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