China Lifts Mandatory COVID Testing for Incoming International Travelers
By Donald Wood
August 28, 2023
International travelers heading to mainland China will no longer need to present a negative COVID-19 test before being permitted to enter, starting on Wednesday, August 30.
According to The Associated Press, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said during a Monday press briefing that lifting the mandatory coronavirus testing protocols was a major milestone in China’s reopening to the rest of the world.
In January, the Asian nation ended quarantine requirements for Chinese citizens returning home after traveling abroad. The country has also recently expanded the list of countries travelers can visit and increased the number of international flights.
Last week, Delta Air Lines expanded its flight schedule to China by offering 10 weekly flights from Seattle and Detroit to Shanghai-Pudong International Airport, beginning October 29. In March 2024, the airline will expand service to PVG from Los Angeles four times each week, a route that hasn’t been operated since before the pandemic.
The continued moves to lift COVID-related restrictions come after China enacted a domestic “zero COVID” policy that resulted in city-wide lockdowns and lengthy quarantines for infected people.
Travelers were previously required to isolate for weeks at government-designated hotels, which stunted the world’s second-largest economy, led to rising unemployment and resulted in massive protests against the forced lockdowns.
Earlier this month, government officials in China announced that group tours would again be permitted for several countries for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic. The country’s culture and tourism ministry revealed that its citizens could participate in group tours to Australia, Britain, Germany, Japan, South Korea and the United States, but Canada remained banned.