China to start issuing new passports. New travel rules in 10 points

The Chinese government says it will start issuing new passports as it dismantles anti-virus travel barriers, a move that could see millions of Chinese tourists travel outside the country for next month’s Lunar New Year holiday. China stopped issuing passports at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 as part of the world’s strictest anti-virus controls and tried to block students, businesspeople and other travellers from going abroad.

Here are latest announcements from Chinese government: 

The National Immigration Administration of China said it will start taking applications January 8 for ordinary passports for tourism. 

It said it will resume issuing approval for Chinese travellers to visit Hong Kong for tourism and business.

That raises the possibility of an influx of free-spending Chinese visitors to revenue-starved destinations in Asia and Europe in what usually is the country’s busiest travel season.

Earlier, China removed quarantine requirements for inbound travelers from January 8. Earlier, tourist travel into China was restricted. Businesspeople and others who were allowed in were quarantined for up to one week.

The government will also resume express checkpoints on the borders with Hong Kong and Macau on Jan. 8, the National Immigration Administration said.

But it also presents a danger, as tourists might spread COVID-19 as infections surge in China.

Tuesday’s announcement adds to abrupt changes that roll back a “zero-COVID” strategy that confined millions of families to their homes. 

It kept infection rates low but fueled public frustration and crushed economic growth.

The government also has dropped or eased most quarantine, testing and other rules within China, joining the United States, Japan and other governments in trying to live with the virus instead of stamping out transmission.

Japan and India responded to China’s surge in infections by requiring virus tests for travellers from the country. 

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