A woman has her throat swabbed for a COVID-19 test at a corona virus testing site in Beijing, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. -AP
China has removed certain COVID-19 test requirements for people flying in from countries like the United States and shortened the pre-departure quarantine period for some inbound travelers, as it fine-tunes its stringent measures to cope with the Omicron variant.
The slight relaxations were made in response to factors including the "characteristics of corona virus variants", according to notices from Chinese embassies and consulates that did not provide further details.
From Friday (May 20), travelers from Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, San Francesco and Seattle will no longer need an RT-PCR test seven days before they fly, or any antibody tests, according to notices issued late on Tuesday from the Chinese embassy in the United States and several consulates.
Those travelers will still need to do two RT-PCR tests within 48 or 24 hours of their flights - depending on which airport they are flying out of - plus another pre-flight antigen test, those notices showed.Travel into and out of China has plunged during outbreaks of COVID-19 as the country insists on its "dynamic COVID zero" playbook that has involved restrictions on the issue and renewal of passports, mandatory quarantines for most travelers upon arrival, and flight cancellations.
But the shorter incubation period of the Omicron variant has allowed for a slight easing of curbs on international travelers. The capital city Beijing said earlier this month it had reduced the quarantine period at centralized facilities upon arrival for travelers to 10 days from 14 days, although another week of at-home isolation remains in place. Embassies in the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and Bangladesh said on Wednesday they had removed antibody test requirements for travelers to China., and that those who had recovered from COVID infection no longer needed to provide chest scan images.