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China lifts the quarantine and will reopen in January.

China lifts the quarantine and will reopen in January.

On Friday, Beijing reported approximately 4,000 new Covid infections and no deaths for four consecutive days last week. It said on Sunday that it will no longer publish daily case numbers. According to Reuters, a British health data business Airfinity projected that China had more than a million infections and 5,000 deaths every day.

After three years of lockdowns, closed borders, and obligatory quarantine for Covid cases and contacts, China is the world’s last major advanced economy to adopt a “living with Covid” policy.

The so-called zero-Covid strategy harmed the economy and made citizens tired of the constraints and periodic tests. Resentment of the program erupted in rare public rallies against President Xi Jinping in November, prompting officials to repeal the Covid laws just a few weeks later.

The last important constraint remains closed borders. Anyone entering China since March 2020 has been required to undergo mandatory quarantine at a governmental facility for up to three weeks at a time. That period has recently been decreased to five days.

However, the National Health Commission said on Monday that Covid would be officially reduced to a Class B infectious disease on January 8.

Quarantine would be eliminated, while incoming travelers would still be required to take a PCR test, and a daily limit on the number of flights allowed into China would be eliminated.

Authorities also stated that they would “optimize” visa conditions for foreigners visiting China for employment and study, as well as family visits and reunions.

It’s unclear whether this covers tourist visas, but officials stated a test scheme for international cruise ships would be implemented.

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Many Chinese people are relieved that they would be permitted to travel abroad again under the new restrictions. Within hours of the announcement, local flight booking websites noticed a surge in traffic.

Many have raised alarm about borders reopening even as Covid cases in China reach a peak.

People in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai report running out of flu and cold drugs and scrambling for medical assistance for sick relatives. Hundreds of fatalities may go undetected, according to local allegations of overcrowded crematoriums.

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