China’s borders have been reopened to foreigners for the first time in three years.
Although people will not be required to quarantine upon arrival, a negative testing – which must have been taken within the last 48-hours – will still be required.
As people finally get to travel to the mainland, there are long lines at Hong Kong’s airport. Many of these people want to see their family and have been waiting for years.
“I’m so happy, so happy, so excited. Teresa Chow, a border official from China and Hong Kong on Sunday said that she hadn’t seen her parents in many years.
According to media reports, there have been around 300,000 bookings for Hong Kong to mainland China already.
It could be a while before international flights reach pre-pandemic levels.
Beijing’s Capital airport received only eight international flights on Sunday. At 6.30 AM, Shanghai received its first international flight. There are only a few more flights expected.
China has also resumed issuing travel visas and passports.
Travel companies reported an increase in inquiries about holiday destinations close to China since 2020.
Sunday’s border changes are a significant moment in China’s history. It was the first time that China has cut itself off from the rest the world since it implemented its zero-COVID strategy.
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After citizens became increasingly frustrated and began to protest, the government finally relented.
As a result, coronavirus infection rates in China have risen, and hospitals are reportedly overflowing with patients.
In response to China’s arrivals, many Western countries, and the UK have imposed new rules, including the requirement that they pass a negative screening before they can fly.
The World Health Organisation and governments are concerned that China may be hiding the true extent of its rise in infections and deaths. This is something they deny.
The opening of new borders coincides also with New Year travel. During this time, people typically return home to see their family.
The government stated that two billion trips will be made this season, which is 70% more than pre-COVID levels.