China reopens to tourists, resumes all visas on Wednesday

China will reopen its borders to tourists on Wednesday and reissue all visas after a three-year shutdown by the pandemic, as it sought to boost its tourism and economy.

ByZEN SOO Associated Press

HONG KONG — China will reopen its borders to tourists on Wednesday and reissue all visas after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, as it seeks to boost its tourism and economy.

China is one of the last major countries to reopen its borders to tourists. Tuesday’s announcement comes after he declared a “decisive victory” over COVID-19 in February.

All types of visas will resume from Wednesday. Visa-free entry will also continue for destinations such as Hainan Island and for cruise ships entering Shanghai that were visa-free prior to COVID-19.

Foreigners with valid visas issued before March 28, 2020 can enter China. Foreigners arriving in southern China’s Guangdong from Hong Kong and Macau will once again enter visa-free. The statement did not specify whether vaccination certificates or a negative COVID-19 test would be required, but Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Tuesday that China had “implemented optimized measures for remote testing of those arriving in China from affected countries,” allowing the pre-boarding antigen test instead of the nucleic acid test.

“These have all been implemented well, and the epidemic risk is generally controllable,” Wang said at a daily briefing.

The move would “further facilitate the exchange of Chinese and foreign personnel,” according to a statement posted on the websites of several Chinese missions and embassies.

China stuck to a heavy-handed “zero COVID” strategy involving sudden lockdowns and daily COVID-19 testing to try to contain the virus before abandoning most aspects of the policy in December amid growing opposition.

The easing of visa rules comes after China approved outbound group trips for Chinese nationals, which showed positive results, and follows an overall improvement in the epidemic situation, Wang said.

“China will continue to take better measures for the safe, healthy and orderly movement of Chinese and foreign personnel based on scientific assessments and in light of the situation,” he said. “We also hope that all parties will join China in creating favorable conditions for cross-border trade.”


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