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China scrap quarantine rule for inbound travelers

China has announced on Monday that travelers will no longer have to quarantine upon arrival on the mainland starting from January 8.

The forthcoming shift follows an abrupt relaxation this month in domestic Covid controls.

The changes end bulk of the most restrictive measures that China had imposed for nearly three years under its zero-Covid policy.

Since March 2020, travelers to the mainland have had to quarantine, typically at a designated hotel for 14 days.

That isolation period subsequently began to increase to 21 days or more for some travelers, before China began cutting quarantine times this summer.

Current policy requires five days of quarantine at a centralized facility, followed by three days at home.

China’s National Health Commission also said that effective from January 8, authorities would stop tracking close contacts of Covid-19 patients, halt the designation of Covid risk areas and cancel measures that had slowed the import of goods.

The commission says travelers to China would only need to show a negative virus test from within the last 48 hours, and wouldn’t have to apply for a clear health code anymore.

While on the flight, passengers would need to still wear a face mask, the announcement added.

China’s economy slowed this year amid stringent Covid controls that locked down Shanghai for about two months, as well as other parts of the country.

Beijing suddenly ended many of the restrictions earlier this month.

Meanwhile, local Covid-19 infections surged, pressuring an already stretched public health system.

Writing by Tersoo Nicholas; editing by Julian Osamoto