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China to drop COVID test requirement for foreign travelers

China to drop COVID test requirement for foreign travelers

Starting Wed., Aug. 30, travelers to China will no longer need a negative COVID test to enter that country, officials announced Monday.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin announced the plan in a government news release, marking a big milestone in a country that has enforced strict lockdowns and “zero COVID” policies during the pandemic.

This is the latest in changes to policies that have isolated China from the rest of the world.

In January, the country ended quarantines for citizens returning from foreign travel and has since expanded the numbers of countries that Chinese citizens could travel to.

Prior to December, China had a “zero COVID” policy that included full lockdowns and long quarantines for infected people. Some people were sealed inside their homes with wires and bolts on their doors or trapped inside office buildings.

The city of Shanghai locked down its 25 million residents from April to June 2022, providing government food supplies and requiring frequent PCR tests, the Associated Press reported.

The restrictions affected the Chinese economy, leading to unemployment and protests in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Nanjing last November.

The policies were rescinded abruptly in December, leading to spikes in infections that a U.S. study has found to lead to nearly 2 million deaths, the AP reported.

More information:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.

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