Dec 26, 2022 - World

China will end quarantines for travelers despite spike in COVID cases

People wearing masks at an airport.

Passengers wait to board a plane at Beijing Daxing International Airport in Beijing, China, on Nov. 19. Photo: CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images

China's National Health Commission announced it will no longer require travelers to quarantine upon entering the country in early January, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The Chinese government is facing a dilemma of how to return to normal, appease protesters, and jump-start the economy while grappling with what's reported as a surge in COVID cases and deaths.

State of play: Beginning Jan. 8, people arriving in China will not have to quarantine, though they will have to show a negative COVID test result within 48 hours of departing for the country, according to the NHS.

  • Currently, people have to quarantine for eight days, including five in a designated hotel or facility, per Bloomberg.

Reality check: Although China has stopped publishing daily COVID data, cases are reportedly escalating in some Chinese cities, including Beijing.

  • Last week, the head of the World Health Organization said the agency is "very concerned" about the number of severe COVID cases in China, per AP.
  • China's vaccination rates, especially among older adults, has lagged behind other countries, and its domestic vaccines are only about 50% effective, the WHO warned.

Threat level: China's COVID death toll could reach almost 1 million people as it reopens over the next several months, some modelling estimates predict.

Go deeper: Beijing faces dilemma as COVID deaths rise

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