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China cuts quarantine time for international travelers in big step toward easing Covid controls

For more than two years, overseas travelers have had to quarantine upon arrival in China because of Covid restrictions. Pictured here at Beijing International Airport on June 18, 2022, are passengers waiting to be taken to quarantine-designated destinations.
Leo Ramirez | Afp | Getty Images

BEIJING — China cut the quarantine period for international travelers on Tuesday, a big step toward loosening Covid controls that have persisted for more than two years.

Overseas travelers will only need to quarantine at a centralized facility, such as a hotel, for seven days upon arrival in mainland China, the National Health Commission announced Tuesday. Travelers will need to spend three additional days at home before they can venture out, the commission said.

Previously, overseas arrivals in China typically had to spend 14 to 21 days in centralized quarantine, depending on the city of entry and destination within the country.

Tuesday’s announcement also said that within China, close contacts of confirmed Covid cases would likewise only need to spend seven days in centralized quarantine, followed by three days of health monitoring at home.

Previously, Covid-related isolation requirements tended to last for at least 14 days.

Mainland China reported for Monday one confirmed Covid case with symptoms — in the southern province of Guangdong — and 21 cases with no symptoms. The cities of Beijing and Shanghai reported none in either category.

In the last few months, some cities began to reduce the length of mandatory isolation.

The capital city of Beijing in early May had required 10 days in centralized quarantine and seven days at home, down from 14 days of centralized quarantine.

China began to tighten its borders in late March 2020 as Covid-19 started to come under control domestically while spreading rapidly overseas. Covid-19 first emerged in late 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

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