Chinese embassies in India, Canada, Singapore, South Korea and many other countries on Sunday and Monday adjusted and optimized pre-boarding requirements for travelers bound for China, based on the 20 optimized measures announced on Friday in view of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
According to an announcement released by the Chinese Embassy in India, all travelers headed to China on flights will only be required to take one nucleic acid test within 48 hours prior to boarding and apply for a health code with a negative result.
Under the previous requirement, travelers had to obtain two negative results within 48 hours.
Moreover, according to the adjusted regulations, travelers do not need to take nucleic acid tests at designated spots anymore. They can take the test wherever it is convenient and apply for a health code from the embassy or consulate where the test was taken. The airline will no longer check the place where the code was issued.
The Chinese embassies in Canada, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Cambodia and Australia issued announcements with similar travel adjustments on Sunday.
The Chinese Embassy in Canada reminded travelers that nucleic acid testing must be completed at a testing facility approved by the local health department and it cannot be replaced by a rapid testing kit.
Earlier, Chinese embassies in the US and the UK made similar announcements and emphasized that travelers do not need to be retested during transit.
In addition, people who have been previously infected, close contacts of the infected, and those with suspected symptoms no longer need additional documentation to apply for a travel health code. Children under three years of age do not need to be tested.
These embassy circulars also remove the previous requirement for a designated testing facility.
On Monday afternoon, the Chinese Embassy in South Korea issued an update stating that flights from South Korea to China require only one negative nucleic acid test result within two days prior to boarding. If the traveler is in transit at a Korean airport, s/he only needs to provide the negative result that is still valid for the second flight, and does not need to be tested again.
The embassies also reminded travelers to continue pre-trip self-health monitoring and personal health protection during the journey.
These updated requirements are inspiring for travelers hoping to travel to China from abroad, a Chinese student surnamed Li, who is planning to return to China from the US, told the Global Times on Monday.
This will make international travel to China, which has been relatively difficult for some time, substantially easier, she said, noting that she hopes the policy changes will further drive down fares on international flights.
On Friday, China made its latest move in scientific and precise epidemic control and prevention work to fight COVID-19 by releasing 20 optimized measures, including shortening quarantine periods for international arrivals and close contacts of confirmed cases from 7+3 (seven days of centralized quarantine and three days of health observation at home) to 5+3.
China also ended COVID-19 flight suspensions on the same day, which immediately triggered a spike in searches for international flights to their highest level in a year, reflecting massive pent-up demand.
Prior to the adjustment, Chinese carriers were allowed to operate only one outbound flight per week on one route to any country, and foreign airlines to operate just one flight a week into China, and were subject to the “circuit breaker.”