China announced on Monday that it plans to drop a mandate requiring all inbound travelers from abroad to quarantine, beginning on Jan. 8, according to reports.
The Associated Press reported that the announcement was made by the National Health Commission as the latest effort to ease China’s measures to control COVID-19.
Under current conditions, all inbound passengers are required to quarantine at a hotel for five days, then another three days once they get home.
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This is the first major step toward opening travel with the rest of the world. Prior to the change, visitors needed to quarantine for up to three weeks.
Still, anyone visiting China from afar must have a negative virus test 48 hours before departing and wear a mask while on board their flight, a post from the Chinese health commission stated.
China’s National Health Commission said last month that people with asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and those with mild symptoms may now isolate at home instead of being forced into a state-run quarantine facility. Additionally, authorities loosened testing requirements and travel restrictions within the country, according to a 10-point plan released by the health authority.
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The changes to China’s COVID quarantine policy come as the country races to get people older than 60 to get vaccinated.
The Associated Press reported that the National Health Commission announced on Nov. 29 that it was starting a campaign to increase the vaccination rate of older Chinese people to avoid a health care crisis.
As of Dec. 23, the number of people getting vaccinated daily had risen to 3.5 million across the nation, the National Health Commission announced. In early 2021, though, there were tens of millions of shots being given each day for the flu.
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Many older Chinese people fear potential side effects such as blood clots and fevers, which have been reported after getting vaccinated.
The AP also reported that more than 90% of people in China have been vaccinated, though only 66% of those over 80 have.
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