China Travel Ban Lifted

China’s travel ban imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been lifted as of August 28th, giving many travelers the opportunity to visit the world’s most populous nation. Despite lingering health risks and new regulations in place, China is ready to welcome global travellers.

The travel ban was announced in March, shortly after the first coronavirus cases were reported in China. It was the first time in over 5 decades that both Chinese citizens and foreigners had been prevented from entering or leaving the country.

The Chinese government has imposed stringent restrictions on travellers entering the country to help contain the spread of the virus. Before a non-resident foreigner is allowed to enter the country, they must obtain a health certificate showing that they have tested negative for coronavirus.

In addition, every traveller entering the country must undergo 14 days of mandatory quarantine at a designated location, such as a hotel. Upon the arrival at the specified location, travellers will need to take another coronavirus test, and have their temperature checked every day.

Twitter has demonstrated the willingness of both Chinese citizens and outsiders to travel. When the first flight from the UK to China after the travel ban was announced, it was sold out within an hour.

China is eager to promote tourism from around the world and expects foreign tourist visits to exceed 100 million this year. This is despite the fact that the number of international visitors has already dropped by nearly 60% due to the pandemic.

The Chinese government has been investing in ‘safe tourism’ and has announced a $24 billion investment to promote the country’s tourism industry. Special policies have also been announced, allowing visitors from some countries to have their 14-day quarantine period waived, provided that they have not had contact or travelled to any coronavirus hotspots.

Travel Permits

Since the travel ban was lifted, all visitors must have pre-approved travel permits in order to travel. This can be done by submitting an application prior to arrival, which requires information like passport details and travel plans.

The process of application is taking longer than usual as a result of a backlog of applications. As such, the applications should be submitted well ahead of the intended time of travel to avoid disappointment.

Once the permit is approved, a personal ID will be generated which the traveller must carry for the duration of the trip. It is necessary to regularly check the permit before visits to public places and during long-distance travels.

The permit documents also come with travel advisories and warnings, outlining the different regions in the country where the virus is most active and the corresponding safety measures that need to be taken.

Necessary Vaccinations

Foreign travellers entering China must present proof of necessary vaccinations including polio and measles. People coming from countries with high prevalence of certain diseases must also present proof of required vaccinations, including diphtheria, tetanus, and Hepatitis B.

It is also important to note that China has a strict animal quarantine policy for pet owners. Cats and dogs must pass health quarantine before entering the country, and must be registered with the quarantine authorities.

In the event that a pet owner is found to be breaking the law, or if the pet is found to be infected with the disease, the owner may be liable to pay a fine as well as risk the deportation of the pet.

The lifting of the travel ban has been met with a mixed response depending on travelers’ individual circumstances and the areas they plan on visiting. Despite the perceived risks, many overseas travelers must feel comfortable that the right measures are now in place.

Adherence to Health Guidelines

Foreign travellers are required to abide to all of the health and safety guidelines set out by the Chinese government. This includes maintaining a 2 metre social distancing in public spaces and avoiding large gatherings. Travellers should also avoid contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

Travellers should also wear a face mask while in public, and sanitize hands often. Making sure to keep your face and hands clean is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as well as other illnesses.

Travellers visiting China must also remember to check-in and out at designated places to ensure the government is informed of travel plans. This helps the authorities to ensure the health and safety of other travellers.

It is also important to ensure that all documentation is up to date and valid before entering the country. Foreigners without a valid visa might be denied entry and may even risk deportation or a hefty fine.

Strategic Location of Hotels

Due to the virus outbreaks in some cities in China, choosing a hotel in a strategic location is essential for the safety of the travellers.

Hotels in cities where the virus is highly active should be avoided, as these cities have been known to impose tighter restrictions on private-sector activities. It is important to research the latest information on a city before booking a hotel.

Travellers should also check the local COVID-19 guidelines for each region prior to travelling. The guidelines should be followed at all times to minimise the risk of contracting the virus.

The authorities have also announced that all hotels must have temperature gauge scanners installed in the lobbies. It is important to bear in mind that the hotel staff has the right to deny accommodation to any traveller with high body temperature.

Avoidance of Non-Essential Activities

When visiting China, it is recommended to limit non-essential activities, such as visiting nightclubs. It is also wise to avoid large gatherings, as the Chinese government has been known to conduct spot-checks to ensure that people are following the rules and regulations.

The authorities also advise travellers to only use established and certified transportation services. A list of transport companies can be found on the tourism website.

In addition, it is best to limit excursions outside of the city, as rural areas are more prone to outbursts of the virus. It is also advisable to check the latest travel advisories on the local government website before travelling.

Finally, travellers must ensure that they have a valid health insurance before entering the country, as medical care in China can be costly.

Telecommunications and Wi-Fi Connectivity

Travellers must be aware that some websites and social media networks like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are blocked in China. Services such as WhatsApp and other messaging apps can be accessed, however, calls will only be possible if the app is connected to a local Chinese number.

Another important thing to note is that Wi-Fi connections can be slow and intermittent. It is advisable to purchase a local SIM card, which can offer better connections in many areas of the country.

In some cities like Beijing, tourists can also purchase a travel SIM card which offers Wi-Fi and 4G access for 24 or 48 hours. This is particularly useful if travellers plan to make local calls or need internet access for a short period of time.

Extra security Measures

The Chinese government has also implemented extra security measures to protect the privacy of travellers. All visitor information including passport, visa, residence permit, and contact information must be stored securely. Information must also be reviewed regularly and updated as necessary.

Travellers must also make sure to register their movements with the local police. Additionally, the hotel where they are staying must also be informed of the planned itinerary before the journey begins.

Overall, the lifting of the travel ban has been welcomed by Chinese citizens and overseas travellers alike. However, it is important to abide to all of the safety protocols and guidelines in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to China.

John Melendez

John J. Melendez is a journalist, author, and commentator specializing in Chinese culture, politics, and international relations. He is a frequent guest on radio and television programs, and is the author of several books on Chinese culture and politics. He currently resides in Beijing, China.

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