CHINA will soon relax COVID-19 entry rules, after nearly three years of strict pandemic border restrictions. On Monday (12/26), the National Health Commission (NHC) announced that starting January 8, 2023, COVID-19 will be downgraded from Class A as the top-level infectious disease to Class B, a class that also includes HIV, viral hepatitis and H7N9 avian flu.

This means that quarantine will no longer be enforced. If you’re planning a trip to China, here’s what you need to know. The new entry rules, under the new rules, which will take effect from January 8, travelers will no longer be subject to quarantine requirements. However, they must take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test 48 hours before their flight to enter the country.

Currently, all passengers arriving in China must undergo mandatory centralized quarantine, a requirement in place since March 2020. However, the length of time has been reduced, from three weeks to just five days now. This is the latest in a series of restrictions lifted as Beijing relaxes its zero-COVID regime.

Earlier this month, the Chinese government abruptly canceled mandatory testing and lockdowns. It comes after nationwide protests last month, with strict zero-COVID policies blamed for turning life, travel and work upside down and dealing a hard blow to the economy.

While China has since moved on from imposing a massive neighborhood or city-wide lockdown, current guidelines stipulate that local authorities can still lock down buildings if a positive case is detected. However, fast locking should be applied to more precisely identified areas, including specific buildings, units and floors. The regulation must also be repealed if no new cases are found for five consecutive days.

In addition, the new guidelines also prohibit blocking exits and fire doors, after 10 people died in a fire in a closed building in Urumqi, northwest China, which sparked nationwide protests. People infected with COVID-19 but with mild or no symptoms can now isolate at home rather than in state-run facilities. [sources/photo special]