Folks who plan to visit China can heave a sigh of relief following reports that the country has relaxed its COVID-19 measures.

According to China’s National Health Commission, travelers bound for China will no longer have to quarantine and abide by previous COVID-19 measures.

The development comes not long after protests blasted the country over its zero-COVID policy. Before the decision to relax its measures, visitors were subject to mandatory quarantine that lasted as long as 10 days.

That all changes starting January 8, 2023, with no hotel quarantine and home isolation in place. However, individuals will have to present a negative PCR test result 48 hours before travel. These do not have to be submitted ahead of time, CNN reported.

Moreover, China is also classifying COVID-19 as Class B instead of Class A. This means that China will instead focus on increasing vaccination among vulnerable populations, epidemic education, and investing in medicine, among other measures.

Plague and cholera are listed as Class A infectious diseases. SARS, AIDS and tuberculosis are among the Class B infectious diseases. Class C infectious diseases include influenza, mumps, etc, CGTN reported.

It was a critical development considering China had stuck by its decision to enforce tight restrictions that were longer compared to other areas. This in turn affected the economy and drew the ire of citizens.

However, easing restrictions also meant a spike in local cases of COVID-19. Daily reports of these cases are no longer being made but Chinese officials estimated that 250 million people were infected in just the first 20 days of December. This makes up roughly 18% of the country’s population.

The NHC is also no longer counting the number of asymptomatic cases, adding that it is impossible to do so.

As of December 19, there were 116,634 confirmed cases in China, according to the World Health Organization, with 28,493 new cases in the prior 24 hours.

China has loosened Covid restrictions
China has loosened Covid restrictions after nearly three years of attempting to stamp out the virus. Photo by: AFP/Noel Celis

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