China to downgrade COVID management from Jan 8

source:           editor:Zhang Wenni

The National Health Commission announced on Monday night that starting on Jan 8, the country will downgrade the management of COVID-19 from category A to category B, in accordance with the Law of the People's Republic of China on Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Disease. The commission also renamed the term "novel coronavirus pneumonia" to "novel coronavirus infection".

Latest provisional measures on cross-border travel

On December 27, following the latest decision to manage COVID-19 with measures against Class-B infectious diseases, relevant departments under the State Council joint prevention and control mechanism have, after full assessment, formulated provisional measures on cross-border travel. The provisional measures will take effect on January 8, 2023.

First, inbound travelers will need to show a negative nucleic acid test taken within 48 hours prior to departure. The test result will need to be noted in the customs health declaration form. Inbound travelers no longer need to apply for a health code from Chinese embassies or consulates. Those who test positive need to postpone their travel until they have a negative test result.

Second, nucleic acid tests will no longer be conducted on inbound travelers upon arrival. Those with no issues to report in their health declaration who have been given regular customs inspection and quarantine clearance can enter China without being subject to quarantine. Those with issues to report in their health declaration or symptoms such as fever shall receive antigen tests at the customs. For travelers who test positive, those determined to be asymptomatic or mild cases without serious underlying health conditions may self-quarantine or exercise self-care at home or place of residence. Other types of cases are advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Those who test negative shall go through regular customs inspection and quarantine clearance in accordance with the Frontier Health and Quarantine Law and other established laws and regulations of China.

Third, passenger capacity limits on international flights will be removed with phased increases in the number of flights and refined distribution of flight routes. Airlines need to keep proper prevention measures in place on board including mandatory mask-wearing for passengers.

Fourth, China will further refine arrangements for foreign nationals’ entry into China for such purposes as resumption of work, business, education, visiting relatives and family reunion and provide corresponding visa facilitation.

Fifth, China will adjust the cargo-only policy at ports of entry and gradually resume entry and exit of passengers by land and water and provide greater convenience for Chinese and foreign crew change in China.

Sixth, China will resume outbound tourism for Chinese citizens in an orderly fashion, starting with a pilot scheme.