Hong Kong, Jan 8 (IANS) China has reopened its borders to international visitors for the first time since it imposed travel restrictions in March 2020.
Incoming travellers will no longer need to quarantine – marking a significant change in the country’s Covid policy as it battles a surge in cases, the BBC reported.
They will still require proof of a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of travelling.
The move has been welcomed by many eager to reunite with families, the BBC reported.
In Hong Kong, 400,000 people are expected to travel into mainland China in the coming weeks with long queues for flights into cities including Beijing and Xiamen.
On Sunday, double decker coaches packed with travellers arrived at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge to catch buses to the Guangdong province – among them were college students returning home, BBC reported.
The country’s reopening comes at the start of “chun yun”, the first period of Lunar New Year travel. Before the pandemic, it was the largest annual worldwide migration of people returning home to spend time with their family, BBC reported.
Two billion trips are expected to be made this Lunar New Year, double the number that travelled last year.
Li Hua, who travelled from the UK to China – where her family lives – for the festival said it had been “too long” since she had returned, “I’m so happy to be back, and breathe Chinese air. So happy, so happy”.
But there is concern from some that opening the borders will result in more transmission of Covid-19, BBC reported.
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