China is reopening its borders to tourists and will resume issuing all visas on Wednesday after a three-year halt during the pandemic as it sought to boost its tourism and economy.
HONG KONG (AP) — China is reopening its borders to tourists and will resume issuing all visas on Wednesday after a three-year halt during the pandemic to boost tourism and the economy.
China is one of the last major countries to reopen its borders to tourists. The announcement came Tuesday after it declared a “decisive victory” over COVID-19 in February.
All types of visas will resume from Wednesday. Visa-free access will also resume in destinations such as Hainan Island and for cruise ships entering Shanghai that were visa-free prior to COVID-19.
Foreigners with visas issued before March 28, 2020 and still valid are allowed to enter China. Visa-free entry will resume for foreigners entering Guangdong in southern China from Hong Kong and Macau. The message did not specify whether vaccination certificates or negative COVID-19 tests would be required, but Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Tuesday that China had “optimized measures for remote testing of people arriving from relevant countries.” come to China”, allowing pre-boarding antigen testing instead of nucleic acid testing.
“All of these are well implemented and the epidemic risk is generally manageable,” Wang said at a daily briefing.
The move would “further facilitate the exchange of Chinese and foreign personnel,” the notice posted on the websites of numerous Chinese missions and embassies said.
China had stuck to a hardline “zero COVID” strategy with sudden lockdowns and daily COVID-19 testing to try to contain the virus before loosening most aspects of the policy in December amid growing opposition.
The easing of visa rules follows China’s approval of outbound group travel for Chinese citizens, the results of which have been positive, and the overall improvement in pandemic conditions, Wang said.
“China will continue to make better arrangements for the safe, healthy and orderly movement of Chinese and foreign personnel based on scientific assessments and in light of the situation,” he said. “We also hope that all parties will join China in creating favorable conditions for cross-border exchanges.”
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