This is another major adjustment to the Covid control policy since China began implementing strict Class A infectious disease prevention and control measures on January 20, 2020.
(Image credit: CnEVPost)
Chinese health authorities have announced a new set of Covid-related policies, marking a decisive break with the country's zero-Covid policy, which was still strictly enforced last month.
In an announcement Monday evening, the China National Health Commission announced that it is changing its previous definition of Covid infection from "novel coronavirus pneumonia" to "novel coronavirus infection".
Starting January 8, 2023, China will lift the prevention and control measures for Covid infection as a Class A infectious disease and instead manage it as a Class B infectious disease.
This is another major adjustment to the Covid outbreak prevention and control policy since January 20, 2020, when China began implementing strict Class A infectious disease prevention and control measures.
After January 8, Covid-infected individuals will no longer be quarantined, and close contacts will no longer be identified, according to another announcement. The policy is already being implemented in many Chinese provinces and cities.
China will also no longer continue to designate high-risk and low-risk areas, Covid testing will be conducted according to the needs of the population, on a voluntary basis, and full Covid testing will no longer be conducted.
However, during an epidemic, staff and caregivers in vulnerable places such as nursing homes and social welfare institutions will be required to undergo regular Covid testing.
At the same time, China will further increase vaccination rates for the elderly, increase investment in medical resources, and strengthen medical coverage in rural areas.
In addition to this, China's border crossings will largely resume normal passage for cross-border travelers.
Beginning January 8, people entering China will only need to have a negative Covid test within 48 hours and will not need to apply for a health code from a Chinese embassy abroad.
Those entering China will no longer be required to undergo Covid testing and centralized quarantine, and those with normal health declarations and no abnormalities in routine quarantine at customs ports will be able to conduct normal social activities.
International flights will also no longer be restricted in terms of passenger capacity and the number of flights.
China will further optimize the arrangements for foreigners coming to China for business, study and family visits, including providing appropriate visa facilities.
The country will also resume outbound travel for Chinese citizens in accordance with the international Covid epidemic situation and the capacity of all services.