Beijing opens borders: Foreign Office advises against trips to China

Status: 07.01.2023 2:28 p.m

After three years of isolation, China will open its borders tomorrow – despite the high number of corona cases. The Federal Foreign Office advises against unnecessary travel. Stricter rules apply to travelers from China.

One day before China’s border opens, the Federal Foreign Office advises against unnecessary trips to the People’s Republic. “The number of infections in China is currently at its highest level since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020,” writes the office in one notice on its website. “The Chinese health system is overburdened, and adequate care in medical emergencies is also affected.” The agency also warned on Twitter:

Random Tests

The country will also be classified as an “imminent virus variant area” from Monday. The Robert Koch Institute points out that the wording “threatening” is a new category in the classification of virus variant areas. This is associated with an obligation to provide evidence in the form of antigen or PCR tests.

The cabinet had also decided that random tests would be possible upon entry. Like other countries, Germany also wants to examine the waste water from aircraft from China for possible new corona virus variants.

No big wave of travel expected

Even after three years of China’s isolation, it will probably still be months before travel returns to normal. A large wave of travel is not expected.

The number of flights from China abroad is currently only around ten percent of the volume before the pandemic. The tickets are very expensive. Tourists also have to take a back seat: the authorities now want to issue or extend passports again, but primarily only for business and study trips.

Conversely, China’s embassies want to issue more visas again. But here, too, business, work or study visits and family visits have priority. According to state media, the number of international flights is only expected to at least double in the first half of 2023.

China also requires a negative PCR test

Above all, there is no strict quarantine requirement when entering China. At times, travelers to China had to spend three weeks in strict quarantine in a hotel room. Most recently, five days plus three days of isolation at home were required.

China also continues to require a negative PCR test 48 hours before departure. Those who test positive are not allowed to travel. However, it is no longer necessary to apply for your own entry permit at the embassy, ​​but only to submit a health declaration.

Estimates: 1.7 million corona deaths by the end of April

The opening of the country follows a month after the abrupt reversal in the rigorous zero-Covid strategy that has been in place since early 2020, including lockdowns for millions of people, mass testing and forced quarantine. After new omicron variants had nevertheless spread explosively and the second-largest economy had increasingly suffered from the measures, China’s government completely abandoned its zero-Covid policy on December 7th.

The reason for the change of course was the milder course of the disease. Since then, a massive wave of infections has been rolling through China, hitting hospitals completely unprepared. London-based data processor Airfinity estimates that 2.5 million people are currently infected in China every day, while 16,600 die every day. According to these estimates, there have already been 209,000 deaths. According to the projections, the number of corona deaths could increase to 1.7 million by the end of April.

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